An Eerily Beautiful Film Visualizes Energy Use as Massive Blobs of Light

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Light, an experimental film, combines 35mm cinematography and special effects to make a point about energy consumption. The film is intended to be a public work of art, and has been projected in urban spaces like Times Square. David Parker of Sunday / Paper, who directed the film, describes the labor of love in a brief interview below. 


Stills from the film

The Atlantic: What inspired the project?

David Parker: Light was inspired by the works of Pieke Bergmans. When I first came across Pieke's work I could not help but feel that this represented much more then just an exploration of shape and design for light bulbs. I saw them as figures, moving and bloating in a vacuous space. It was sad to me, it felt like an exclamation of gluttony and waste. At this point I knew I wanted to take this inspiration and create a piece that could portray these emotions.

What was the production process?

I struck out and pooled together some savings, scouted locations and talked Carlos Veron, a cinematographer friend of mine, into shooting it. We rented a 35mm film camera, lenses, a van, and off we went. The whole thing cost me $15k to shoot. I used to work in post production doing visual effects for movies, commercials and music videos. With the help of friends, I was able to pull some favors and created the light blobs in 3D. Eventually with all the push and pull, it took two years to finish but at the end of the day it was worth it. I think it's a unique piece that ultimately creates an impression with people and calls into question energy conservation and accountability. I was intent on expressing this through the power of the environments and situations shown, so that I wouldn't have to rely on an end tag or a voice over to explain what inherently we'd all be able to identify when it comes to energy conservation.

Where's the video now?

Today the work is being shown in San Francisco at the Popular Workshop. It was also looped on some screens in Times Square for the month of January. I'm currently looking for other locations to project the piece.

For more work by David Parker and Sunday / Paper, visit http://www.sunday-paper.com/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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