Laser Projections in Nature

Laser Projections in Nature

Alberto Novello and the intertwining of analogue light and elemental sound

In this post we look at some recent projects from Alberto Novello (aka JesterN), an Italian artist who forges analogue light and elemental sound into spellbinding audiovisual performances. We focus on his laser projection works which use our Pepper module as part of the setup.

The quality of analogue light

The first piece of Alberto’s work shown above is a wintertime outdoors laser projection onto the Goriuda Waterfall, found in a natural reserve in Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy. Sound and light are tightly knitted together in Alberto’s work and often the same signals are used to produce both and the audible and visual elements. This work is part of a new series of laser interventions in nature where the weather, light and water conditions must be delicately balanced for a satisfying result. Alberto says the following about the waterfall piece:

I’m interested in connecting the natural and the artificial, observing how they interact aesthetically and what they create together. I aim to redirect audience attention outside the theatre, also for the simple purpose of enjoying nature after this long period of pandemic lockdown.

This work was commissioned by Aeson Festival and Dobialab.

Tracing sound signals

Alberto uses an analog modular synthesiser alongside a video synthesiser to create these audio-visual works. He also has various analogue CRT monitors, oscilloscopes and lasers for experimenting with qualities of light and different approaches to ray tracing. Amongst the modules used is our own Pepper module which can output low latency and high resolution control voltage signals which can be used to directly drive the X and Y coordinates of the laser, allowing for sound patterns to be easily drawn.

In the live performance above Alberto uses a novel technique to fuse two light sources together: the image of an analog CRT monitor and laser projections. The CRT monitor has a monochromatic blue beam that can draw many lines to create complex shapes, while the laser beam is slower and can only enhance part of the image, but has a colourful and brighter beam.

The same technique is used in the above work. In both of these performances, as in most of Alberto’s work, the sound you hear is the same signal that composes the images, keeping coherent and synchronous the material for both aural and visual stimulation.

About Alberto Novello

Alberto Novello a.k.a. JesterN’s practice repurposes found or decontextualised analogue devices to investigate the connections between light and sound in the form of contemplative installations and performances. He repairs and modifies tools from our analogue past: oscilloscopes, early game consoles, analogue video mixers, and lasers. He is attracted to their intrinsic limitations and strong ‘personalities’: fluid beam movement, vivid colours, infinite resolution, absence of frame rate, and line aesthetics. By using these forgotten devices, he exposes the public to the aesthetic differences between the ubiquitous digital projections and the vibrance of analogue beams, engaging them to reflect on the sociopolitical impact of technology in a retrospective on technologisation: what does ‘old’ mean, and what value does the ‘new’ really add.

If you’d like to learn more about his work check out and a previous blog post we did in 2019 on his project Celestial Harmonies.