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Showcase » Psychedelic Lighting Workshop 2003 » Responses

Psychedelic project responses

On Collaboration

John B: When it came to choosing music, we used the day we got for experimentation to listen to a number of songs while playing around with the lighting to them. I think this worked really well because we were able to see how the music fit in with what we could actually do in the lighting lab.

Chris L: Instead of working the show to fit the music, we began to switch songs until we found the song that pieced together with our visual image.

Brian: I might have added a camera in the back during the performance. It would be interesting to see the groups working together to produce their shows.

On Experimentation

Sara: From mixing dyes and oils with water, to coordinating light with music or worrying about spills, the entire show becomes not only an immediate enhancement for the music, but an ongoing experiment.

Drew: Gradually each group member’s role evolved from complete experimentation to partly rehearsed, partly improvised material. … This project was a great learning experience, and it taught me most importantly that experimentation is central to a good light show.

Danielle H: Our creation was a conglomerate of experiments all interacting together.

Nicolle: [the] fly by the set of your pants approach made it more authentic.

On Communication

Danielle K: I think more than communication, our [go for it] attitude was key in keeping our show together.

Paul: I suppose there was a good deal of nonverbal communication since the way we all chose to improvise our own actions was contingent on whatever everybody else was doing at the moment.

Peter: The first thing we realized was that whoever ran the board basically had to direct the show. … It was good to have someone in control of the big picture but I would have liked to have been able to operate the lights myself.

Calie: There wasn’t much communication that went on during the actual show…The main [element] … of communication was the transition from one overhead to the other: we had to…count off in order to switch them [simultaneously].

Nicolle Communication was important but there was little talking during the show, just visual cues from the screen.

Jon B says “I felt like I was playing in a band more than just doing the lighting for one. I found that watching the other members of the group during the show was essential. All of our improvisational cues were built off of what others were doing”

Jon B later says “as a musician…I can only imagine what it would be like playing along a light show that was so intricate [as the Joshua Light show].

On why the light show died

Katie: I think it was one of those things that was really great while it lasted but due to no fault of its own the fad dies.

John B: I think the light show [as an art form in the 60s] was exciting for a time. I would get bored doing light shows every night. Maybe… lights were merely a thing to do while doing drugs. The fad just faded away.

Wei: The fact that the Light Show art died so quickly says a lot about it having more hype than substance.

Ian: People who had seen [the light shows] many times wanted something new and were no longer interested in the same tired effect.

Mai: I think the light show art died out because the culture changed. Spectacular meant controlled, people investing money in music wanted particular results…

Danielle H: I believe the Joshua Light Show … was entertaining at the beginning but would have lost appeal even sooner than it did had it not been for the role of drugs during the era.

Quoted by Chris C: As David Gilmore said about Dark Side of the Moon, “you didn’t have to be on drugs to enjoy it, but it helped”

Maser: I don’t think the light show art form died, I just think that is has evolved along with technology.