John Akomfrah – Kleve – Purple in Germany

At the Museum Kurhaus Kleve, John Akmofrah is showing Purple, part two of his trilogy that also includes Vertigo Sea and Four Nocturnes. The work is one of John’s most ambitious projects with six simultaneous screens and a 16 channel audio soundtrack. The work itself is an investigation into climate change and the impact of humanity from the industrial revolution of the modern age to present day. With a combination of archive material showing a glimpse into the past successes of man’s development whilst reflecting on the damage that has done to the environment. New footage has been shot and interwoven to demonstrate the devastation and poisoning of the ocean, land and air. This is the first time Purple or any John’s major works have been shown in Germany and the Museum Kurhaus Kleve is very proud and passionate to be showcasing this excellent work.

On a technical level ArtAV planned with the museum’s technical team the layout of the exhibition and then went to Kleve to install the piece over an 8 day period. Using ArtAV’s bespoke Hypersync to simultaneously playback 6 Blackmagic Hyperdeck Studios outputting ProRes422HQ files to brand new Christie D12HD-H lamped 11,000 lumen projectors which give an excellent colour reproduction the visual side of the work was brought to life.

A colour profiling camera was used to calibrate the 6 projectors to make sure that the image across all 6 3.5m wide screens was perfectly uniform. The audio of the piece is incredibly complex with 11 Fohhn LX-100 speakers positioned around the room and 4 Fohhn XT-10 overhead to fill the large space with the sublime soundscapes that John has created. The speakers were powered from 2 Crown DCi800N amplifiers with DSP. 

One of the complexities of installing such a large piece is the size of the room that is required. This in itself leads to acoustic issues not found in smaller spaces; acoustic panelling and a thick carpet helped with the reverb. Eq'ing of the space was achieved by using the Crown Harman app and controlling the audio remotely from a tablet on a hidden 'technical' wireless network. Such was the success of the remote control feature ArtAV will now be offering it to all Museums and Galleries that are installing large multi-speaker works and using Crown amplifiers.

Photos: Simon Weightman and Lez Barker


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