Marcus Neustetter
b. 1976, South Africa
Chasing Light
Digital projection

Celestial light show. Chasing Light simulates the fleeting celestial displays of the aurora borealis, also called the northern lights. While working in Norway in 2009, South African artist Marcus Neustetter traveled to Tromsø to view the lights, but he was prevented from seeing even a momentary glimpse by the heavily overcast conditions. To counter his disappointment, Neustetter tried to experience the northern lights in another way.

Knowing that the aurora borealis is created by atmospheric fluctuations around the earth's electromagnetic poles, Neustetter asked his traveling companion, fellow artist James Webb, to capture the sound using a high-frequency recorder. It sounded like electronic rain. Back home in Johannesburg, Neustetter placed a large, flat tray of water on a speaker and then played the recordings. When the sound from the speaker vibrated the water, the artist bounced a high-powered laser off the surface to create his own version of the northern lights.

Chasing Light has been presented as laser and glow stick performances, digital prints, and computerized simulations. Neustetter has yet to see the aurora borealis, but he notes, "Until then, I'm very happy to continue making work about chasing light."

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