Ben Denham Grasping Light video still

Grasping Light (2016)

Grasping Light is a work in two parts; a laser on paper drawing and a video that documents how the drawing was made. On another level Grasping Light is an attempt to understand all of the materials involved in producing the work as a whole. At the centre of the work is the laser and how we might grasp it as a source of energy for mark making, as a source of light for photographic processes and as a tool in a broader machine assemblage. The energy and brightness of the laser produces a set of constraints around the speed of burning marks on paper and the way that laser can be photographed by digital sensors.

The work involves exploring how variations in speed, exposure and imaging technology can reveal some of the many dimensions of laser light. The most significant aspects of the spiral patterns that form part of the drawing are not programed but are rather emergent forms that pop out at precise speeds and levels of laser focus. The process that produces these spiral patterns is indicative of a broader approach to the laser-paper-machine-camera assemblage. The goal here is to find the interactions between materials that produce the most interesting emergent forms.