D.A. Therrien

For Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2009, grants from the Provincial Ministry of Tourism’s Celebrate Ontario fund and Scottsdale Public Art will enable the City of Toronto to commission a separate installation by an internationally renowned artist that capitalizes on the iconic infrastructure at Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square.

D.A. Therrien's BEAUTIFUL LIGHT: FOUR LETTER WORD MACHINE will suspend four giant light sculptures in the air above Council Chambers, blasting an ever-changing array of four-letter word patterns all night long.

Suspended 65 meters in the air between the Viljo Revell-designed Toronto City Hall towers, the four 7m square alphanumeric quartz lamp arrays will display codes, DNA sequences and elemental words. With each of the four “characters” consisting of 16 light segments, the machine is capable of displaying nearly 4.94 billion distinct graphic combinations, facilitating the expression of any word in any language.

Human operators, themselves controlled via a system of computers and unusual interface devices, determine the final outcome of the display, directing surges of electricity through large scale electro-mechanical switching systems. The light/machine itself is 33 meters across and will be visible and readable for several miles.

Since 1984, D.A. Therrien has been creating large scale spectacles as “rituals of technology” – utilizing machines, computers, information displays, high intensity light, robotics and live electricity in complex interactions with human performers/operators. His performances in Europe, Asia and North America address humans’ relationship to political and religious systems, medical technology, surveillance, information systems and other 20th and 21st century technologies that are now pervasive in everyday life.

Installations in D.A. Therrien's BEAUTIFUL LIGHT series are derived from the phenomenas of light and electricity and the role of light in our belief systems, language, biology, natural world and cosmology – light as illumination, energy, information and as a metaphor for good and evil.