Light becomes a tangible experience at the Zumtobel Light Forum in Dornbirn. This is where a passion for light and the associated innovative power of Zumtobel both really come alive. Photographer and video artist Andreas Waldschütz has used a new corporate video to philosophically showcase this special lighting location. His imagery is based on a unique aesthetic: progressive, futuristic, avant-garde. Here he talks to Zumtobel about his inspiration, his work and the emotional impact of light.
Mr Waldschütz, how does an artistic film-maker like yourself come to work with Zumtobel?
I am not just a video artist, but also a photographer. Light is an essential part of my job, which is why it is so exciting for me to work with Zumtobel. Two years ago I made a film for the very personal "Appearing Sculptural" exhibition from Marte.Marte Architekten, two architect brothers from Vorarlberg who have worked together with Zumtobel over the years on a number of projects. Zumtobel approached me and asked if I would be interested in creating artistically innovative films for them. My first assignment was a film about an exhibition from Wael Shawky in the Kunsthaus Bregenz gallery.
What do you appreciate most about the cooperation with Zumtobel?
Zumtobel regards me as an artist, which is certainly not always the case. I particularly appreciate the freedom that the lighting specialist gives me when it comes to realising the film projects. I am allowed to "just do it". Leave a creative person to work and the final result will be something that no one has ever seen before, because the motivation is right. The special thing about the cooperation with Zumtobel is that it gives me the opportunity to work with equally creative people who trust me and value my work. That is the basis of everything – if the energy is right, then the result will match.
What role does light play in your daily work?
Light plays a very important role in my work. Light is daily life. Light shapes our everyday existence. You can control a lot with light – especially when it comes to moving images. Only with the help of light can you add "happy", "dark" or "psycho" tones to a scene. Light is the most important element available to visually creative individuals like myself.
You have already made several videos for Zumtobel, with the latest one focused on the Light Forum in Dornbirn. Where did you get the inspiration for this film?
When I first walked through the Zumtobel Light Forum in Dornbirn, I felt like I was in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". The Light Forum looks very futuristic and seems to me to really represent the soul of the company. For me it was clear that I wanted to bring this "heart of Zumtobel" to life in film in an artistic and philosophical way.
Can you tell us a bit more about the concept behind the film?
I had the idea to personify the Light Forum using the shape of a person – a person who would have to be androgynous rather than a specific gender. I wanted to let the Light Forum speak and had images in my mind that seemed to show a person suddenly standing in front of me. I really wanted to give the whole thing a human touch – away from the technology. Then I came up with the idea of first showing the products – the luminaires – before letting the figure come into play. It is not about the actual person, but more the way that this individual embodies the Light Forum. The Light Forum is the person and the person is the Light Forum.
How would you put the film into words?
Innovation is a very overused word, but in this case it really is true. When I enter the Light Forum I can literally feel the innovation that has taken place there. This is also the kind of message that I wanted to communicate in the movie. When I first immersed myself in the Light Forum, I felt like I was in another world. That is why it is not easy to put the project into words. It is really about light. The film is light.
You are known for your futuristic imagery, which is also reflected in the Zumtobel image film. What is it that fascinates you about this particular aesthetic?
I have always been fascinated by other worlds. Of course I can also document the world in which we live, but I find it much more exciting to create something completely new from what is already available – a completely new world, a futuristic world. We have no idea what else is really out there. For me it is all about the fascination of playing with what lies in the realms of possibility, whether it actually exists or not. That is why my work always tends to have a futuristic touch.
Music plays a key role in your films. When you use moving images to capture a specific topic, what do you first have in mind – the music or the image?
Sound is very important in my productions, as I want to make sure that particular images carry even more weight with certain sounds. I often work closely with Stefan Hoffmeister in this area. He is involved in the shooting and looks after the field recording, from which the melodies or compositions for the film are then produced. I used to play drums myself, so I am actually a very musical person. Music is very important to me. I get up in the morning and immediately put on some music. I cannot get by without music, so it normally accompanies me day and night – just like light. Music is life for me. It shapes associations, moods and memories and creates images in the mind. I tend to work on my productions in one of two ways: Either I hear a track and images come into my head or I create images and a particular sound comes to mind.
You have taught yourself the art of video and photography. How did you first become interested in video art?
I have always been intrigued by the idea of creating something from nothing. I began taking analogue photographs when I was twelve years old. I just wandered through nature and tested the various settings of the camera. The first attempts were a huge disappointment. In 1999 I went on a trip around the world and spent almost three years living in California. I started to have this big dream about working in the film industry, so I set about experimenting with motion pictures and taking photographs on the side.
When I later lived in London for a year, my apartment was broken into and everything was stolen – including my laptop and hard drive. Suddenly all my work had disappeared, as if I had never produced anything in my life. That was a huge shock for me. A nightmare: everything gone in an instant. I then went inside myself and saw the episode as a sign that the film business was probably not for me. So my focus returned to photography, where I taught myself everything that I needed to know. Through fashion photography I gradually came more and more into contact with film and now it feels great to be back in this industry. At the moment I am actually more at home in the world of moving images. There are always phases when I feel more comfortable in a particular field – film or photography. The great thing is definitely that I am not dependent on one or the other.
About Andreas Waldschütz
Andreas Waldschütz's love of videography was sparked in the early 2000s, when he produced music videos for indie bands in Hollywood Hills and San Francisco. Born in Vienna in 1976, the self-taught artist now lives in Berlin and has made a name for himself as both a photographer and video artist. He puts together glossy fashion shows and sophisticated campaigns, as well as producing various art, image and fashion films. His internationally acclaimed works are always based on a very strong and clear aesthetic. Waldschütz forms his own worlds – futuristic, avant-garde, progressive – and he leaves nothing to chance. People, music, light, costumes and location – every detail of his work is meticulously planned and visualised in his imagination. Waldschütz has already worked behind the camera for a number of Zumtobel product videos. The image film for the Light Forum in Dornbirn is the latest joint project that he has realised with the Austrian lighting specialist.
Andreas Waldschütz has already been behind the camera for Zumtobel. Last year he created a film at the Kunsthaus Bregenz about the exhibition by Wael Shawky.
Waldschütz also photographed a Zumtobel outdoor project in Bürchen, Switzerland.
A lighting solution from Zumtobel has been used to add a mystical air to the new central square in the Swiss village of Bürchen - captured by Andreas Waldschütz. © Zumtobel