Punto Flotante, de lo escrito a lo concreto. Un proyecto de Esteban Serrano

Images courtesy of Francisco Jullian

It’s hanging on the corridor’s walls, linking the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts and the Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC). This artwork is a big computer graphics that is vertically oriented and almost goes unnoticed. This is Esteban Serrano’s work (born in Santiago, 1987). He is a young designer from the Catholic University of Chile, who manifested through this big artwork his previous ideas, engineering drawings, and philosophical fascinations that constitute this project: Punto Flotante. It’s a light intervention that was carried out on a flat roof, which is located in the central part of the capital city. The artist found this place for his exhibition in the 12th Media Art Biennale, which took place in Santiago during October, 2015. The project, inspired by Javier Toro Blum, was carried out as part of the Eigengrau Lab (German word that means ‘intrinsic gray’), where many pieces of art were finished regarding diverse experiences of visual perception and light research.

Serrano’s project is based on the sun’s movement. He wonders about the light reflections of the sun on different objects and he highlights the way that these gleams are understood by people. The artwork monumentalizes, by means of a simulation, this game of reflecting the beams of light, by changing its direction when opposing the surface of a mirror. In this case, they used three Belgian round mirrors that are supported by three heliostats (automated machines that reflect light). Esteban serrano gives form to this accidental simulation by taking control of the urban space. In the flat roof of a hotel that is located in the intersection of Agustinas street with Mac Iver street, he put the three machines, by means of a software that he created, and used the program Grasshopper and Arduino. These allow him to control the subtle movement of the mirrors by adjusting them in a horizontal-vertical way and as if it were a bow towards the sun.

It’s a sun project that experiments with light projection and has its limitations if the weather gets bad. However, when you see it, you can wonder if these points, which float on the building’s wall, are the product of a chance or if these light points are provoked by someone else. The distance measures between the terrace and the wall are 20 meters approximately and the distance with the wall, where the created orbits appear, is 50 meters long. Esteban Serrano comments more about his projects.

Were you guided in relation to machine fabrication? How did you know about the formulation of design?

I did tests with different forms for the design of the machines. The only thing I knew is that they had to have two axes for movement: one horizontal and the other vertical. I also knew that the machines movement had to be very precise and also very slow.
In addition, the machines had to support the weight of the mirrors. For example, the heaviest mirror weighs 10 kg approximately.

Why did you choose the name Punto Flotante?

Punto Flotante (Floating Point) refers to one of the names of decimals that are related to the field of computing. I named it like that because the software calculates numbers with huge decimals in order to control the mirrors.

Beyond the frankness of light: its purpose

Esteban defines his proposal from the perspective that is possible to minimally take control of the space. By doing this, he knows if this affects or transforms somehow the daily nature, influencing the perception of time in the city. In this way and chasing the east/ west route, the light reflections draw the path like imitating a sundial. The mirrors –each one with different size, movement, and position –operate the diverse beams of lights and lead them to the southern walls of a high office building, which interrupts in the historical downtown but is used as a support. Throughout the day and paying attention to determined hours, it’s produced a regular meeting of these oval shapes that are reflected and float at the same time. The surface of the building is where these images of light are manifested. “I know that the artistic part in this project lies in the design and its intention of language –to communicate the time. When the reflected light points are together, they show the exact time and then the separate again from each other while time passes by. This demonstrates the recurrence that pretends to create a visual language. It’s hard to talk about it in terms of art, but the dimension of art is more related to the passers-by –in my opinion –when they are looking at this project and think the following (taking into account that they cannot see the machines from the streets): Is it a spontaneous or deliberated phenomenon? To me, the design is present in the language of the mirrors’ movement and the artistic dimension –if you’d like to add it –lies in the doubt.” Says Serrano. His artwork is complex and practically imperceptible because it works directly with light and at the same time with statics. Esteban has performed a register of photographs taken with a time-lapse technique of 20 seconds for each shot within a range of two hours. Through this, he has created some gif in order to visualize to the best his study.
For more information, please visit blog.esrs.co.

Another clear element in the work of Esteban Serrano is his interest in the existing space that is not used. He points out that his project is like doing a transitory graphic art with light. This light, when registered, will always be marked as a place with no symbolic burden. “My work has to do with chance, from the spontaneity of the light appearance. However, in order to provoke this, in the artwork there must be precision and experimentations from the astronomy, electronics, technologies, and madness.” He also mentions the following about his artwork: “the sun is the medium; the end is the space.”



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