Taming chaos

Talk: Kinetic Light Art – On Waves
Speaker: Paul Friedlander, Artist
Site: Smögen Seaside Resort

It was not a coincident to find Paul Friedlander among the artists at the Smögen Light Art festival. He is one of the world-famous artists, with a calendar filled enough to refrain from coming to the island. But to say no, seems impossible for someone so wonderfully childish and curious as Paul.

He calls his type of light art kinetic, like the study of motion of random bodies. It might have been something like that he felt in his first memory. Sitting in the childhood sofa back home in Manchester, he saw Sputnik 1 taking off to make the first orbit in space around the globe.

He decided to become an astronomer, but several homemade spaceships later he turned to university studies in physics. Until he visited an Exhibition of kinetics in London 1970, and got caught by the mix of logic and fantasy. The physicist Paul Friedlander transformed into an art student.

He says he has always been interested in chaos, to let go of it, but also to try to tame it.
One day he saw girls skipping and got fascinated by the motion of the rope. Many mathematical calculations and technological experiments later he found out how to create colorful spirals as his typical form of art.

He shows slides of installations that he has made, but almost forgets to talk. He just gets so fascinated seeing them again.
We get to watch slides from a design exhibition in Milano and can guess that the gigantic white spirals we see under the triumphal arc Arco della Pace, is created by him. While showing pictures from a competition in New York called Dark Matter he by the way tells that he was the winner. And then he cannot remember who conducted which orchestra at Queen Elisabeth Hall, but he recalls that he made the scenery. And the electronic music.

Though extremely playful and creative, Paul Friedlander now seems stuck in his colorful spirals, like the one he showed at the festival in Smögen. Despite hours of calculations they are full of surprises, and in the tough winds blowing from the open sea surrounding Smögen they – and Paul Friedlander – meet yet another challenge.

“Now I have got to find out how to make them wider and wilder like the wind”, he says smiling and wagging his arms. “Let´s see if I can tame that chaos, or not!”