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Vivid’s Heaven’s Cloth Utilises JBL Control 23 Speakers


Taking its title from Yeats’ vision of the skies as “the heavens’ embroidered cloths”, Vivid Festival’s Heaven’s Cloth created a canopy of light, colour and sound, thanks to Arup MAS.

The installation was an active and porous ceiling that displayed projected light via LED RGB architectural luminaires to create intricate colour change effects based on the theory of complementary colours.

Enriching the piece was a soundscape composed using synchronised harmonious musical intervals.

“The circle of fifths, which depicts all twelve tones and musical key signatures graphically in the form of a circle, is like the musical analogy of the colour wheel,” explained Christopher Sims, Arup’s Acoustic and Theatre Consultant.

“Just as complementary colours are visually harmonious, the musical interval of a fifth is mathematically and perceptually consonant, and the artwork used these perceptual and aural preferences synchronised to Newton’s asymmetric colour wheel mapping to enhance the visual experience of Heaven’s Cloth.”

The installation was located in the heritage listed Rocks area of Sydney, which meant constraints on the fixing of equipment.

This was one of the reasons why Christopher specified eight JBL Control 23 speakers, the most compact of JBL Professional’s Control Contractor Series indoor/outdoor loudspeakers, and a Crown amplifier to power them.

“The JBL Control 23 speakers are small and lightweight plus the built-in InvisiBall mounting hardware supplied with them worked well as it allows you to aim the speakers in a variety of directions,” commented Christopher.

“In this case, we mounted them up high out of view and in most instances, above the actual cloth, so they could be pointed down onto the people in the laneway.

“The supplied mounting bracket was designed to be drilled into the wall which we couldn’t do, so we designed another bracket hung off a catenary wire to fix onto the JBL one which worked fine.”

Christopher noted that the JBL Control 23 speakers did an excellent job creating an enveloping sound throughout the laneway making the entire installation a much more immersive experience than one with just lighting.

“Without the audio I think the installation would not have been as successful as it was,” added Christopher.

“We got a lot of positive feedback from the public and Vivid with most people finding it serene, peaceful and an elegant installation. We even had a marriage proposal happen underneath it one night!”

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