Customized 4-watt RGB laser components, with lowest possible power consumption.
The outdoor installation ‘Another Moon’, designed by the artist duo Kimchi and Chips, was presented for the first time in the former coal mine, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein, in Essen. The idea behind it was to create a three-dimensional shape consisting of laser beams symbolizing a second moon in the sky. This public artwork could still be seen from a distance of 1 kilometer and was intended to bring people together again in the aftermath of the Corona pandemic.
The partnership between Kimchi and Chips and LaserAnimation Sollinger GmbH was formed in 2017. “We were fascinated by the idea of using laser beams to create objects in free space and wanted to support it,” said Michael Sollinger of LaserAnimation Sollinger GmbH.
The artist duo Kimchi and Chips developed the art project ‘Another Moon’ over a period of 6 years and it is the culmination of the art series ‘Drawing in the Air’. In 2021, the project was commissioned by the RAG Foundation and the Arts Council of Korea for the opening of the NEW NOW Festival.
Depicting an immaterial moon, the work is meant to symbolize the merging of virtual and physical reality. The nighttime installation ran exactly until the solar energy was exhausted, which was be stored by 40 solar panels during the day. Neither the artists nor the audience could influence the duration of the projection. Kimchi and Chips thus wanted to point to a new form of energy that is no longer always available on demand, as it is the case with fossil fuels.
Laser systems and the other hardware were installed on a total of 40 four-meter-high trusses arranged in a circle of 80 meters in diameter. The alignment of the lasers allowed the imaginary moon to reach a diameter of 10 meters at a height of 50 meters. The cone-shaped projection of the laser systems were aligned so that they overlapped at a defined position. At these overlapping areas, the luminosity increased and the visibility was thus significantly higher than that of the individual projections. The result was a 3D-like light sphere in free space.
The solar energy, which was captured by the solar cells, was stored in lithium-ion batteries (LiFePo4), from which the laser systems were supplied with energy at night. A central control computer was used to control the lasers via a W-LAN network.
To implement the art installation, Kimchi and Chips designed waterproof laser projectors with custom 4-watt laser components from LaserAnimation Sollinger. The stainless steel housings protect against environmental influences such as heat, rain, etc., while also resisting corrosion. Each module includes a Raspberry Pi for communication and control, a Teensy 4.0 microcontroller, a voltage regulator, a wireless communication module, and is equipped with a TEC temperature controller for stable operation.