When making the rounds of friends in Delhi earlier this year, I spent an intriguing evening with Ashim Ghosh, photographer, multimedia artist, musician, and self-proclaimed audiovisionary. His formidable oeuvre lives up to his moniker.
His most recent adventures with light and color resulted in an invention that made its debut last December at the Habitat Centre in New Delhi on the occasion of Photosphere, an arts festival of photography and sustainability. He named his invention diliet™: digital light induced entrancement. When he brought my friend and I into a darkened room to show it to us, our eyes popped and mouths dropped. Diliet’s entrancing effects are instantly apparent.
Ashim describes his invention as a “technique of creating dynamic artworks that break into animation from a static state, when subjected to specific light signals.” It’s not a sophisticated digital or VR gizmo. What we saw is analog: colored ink printed on paper illuminated by LEDs. This fact poses a challenge for writing about diliet for an online publication, not to mention its underpinnings in the neuroscience of visual perception, optics, color theory and algorithms, for starters.
Ashim came up with diliet by pushing theories of additive and subtractive colors to their extremes. He uses numerical values to calibrate a limited palette of colors and shades to create artwork with luminosity that is visible in daylight, enhanced in a dark space lit by white LED light, and more enhanced when lit with RGB light. The artwork can be as small as a 20- or 30-inch print to something covering a building’s facade.
In addition to the dynamism from the arrangement of color, diliet artworks respond to calibrated RGB light sequences and transitions, by changing their perceptual state and how we perceive form and color. In this way, a static diliet artwork in a darkened space becomes animated when exposed to light sequences: forms/text/shapes appear and disappear. The speed of transition from one light color to another further alters perceptual experience of simulated movement. Using DMX lights, the diliet artwork can become more animated by being synched to sound, other media, and live performance.
Ashim envisons a world illumined by his digtal-to-analog invention: “from futuristic dynamic diliet architecture and interactive dynamic art, to intelligent dynamic artistic signage and futuristic dynamic runway markings that change color and luminosity to enhance communication, visibility and safety.”