lookoutpost

To maintain its neutrality, the Republic of Ireland positioned eighty-three observation posts along its coast in World War II. With the exception of a few buildings that already existed, the Irish Defence Forces built small, identical shelters specifically designed for this purpose. The posts are referred to as LOPs (short for Lookout Post), and each was identified by a serial number from one to eighty-three. Today, fifty-one of the shelters built between 1939 and 1941 still exist. They were selected as projection objects for this light art project due to their uniform and austere architecture. In conjunction with this project, the sites of all eighty-three LOPs were recorded geographically and documented. The results of the project were published on the website www.lookoutpost.com.

The following supplements and expands upon the projections and motifs on the website.

The photographic documentation was deliberately timed at dusk as an instrument to balance perception between projection and surroundings. Only a few minutes during the evening twilight allow for an optimal interplay between ambient light and the projection to achieve the desired photographic result. The light projections on the LOPs were created using a portable projection device consisting of a power generator and a video beamer. The technical equipment weighed a total of thirty kilos and had to be carried to the often remote posts. A lightweight tent protected the projection equipment from the wind and rain.

The projection subjects were adapted to the geometric shape of the lookout posts’ facades. The depth effect was emphasized by accurately positioning individual graphic elements on door and window areas.

 

Through the targeted use of neutral grey tones in the projection subjects, the facade structures remained recognizable. As a consequence, natural building structures are incorporated in the projection and the effect of daylight is simulated on these surfaces. This graphic application also makes it possible to achieve the effect of black color tones. Lightening the edges of walls, interior areas, or parts of the facade creates the additional impression of real paintings on the architecture. This effect was used for LOP 26, LOP41, and LOP45 among others.

 

The projection motifs usually reflect the artist’s interpretation of the perception of the sites along with travel experiences and personal memories. Ultimately, the decision which projection subject to use also had to do with the selected camera perspective. In addition to motifs that were produced in advance, spontaneous influences from the surroundings were often incorporated. This approach repeatedly resulted in new motif ideas, some of which were directly implemented on the same day as the light projection. The following describes the origin and underlying concepts of some of the projections that evolved in the course of the journey.

 

LOP3, LOP51 This projection subject was based on an Irish ten pence coin and a twenty pound note from 1939, around the time when the lookout posts were built.

 

LOP20 The scattering effect of the light rays in this projection image is the result of fog and the camera lens along with its positioning. The strong fog makes the projection rays clearly visible. The camera is placed directly under the lens of the video beamer and distorts the rays using an extreme wide angle lens. As a consequence, the photo conveys the impression that the rays are coming out of the building. The shadow motif and the illuminated windows enhance the impression that a light source is shining out of the building.

 

 

LOP31 The planks of an old shipwreck near Sheep’s Head inspired this projection background. Hiking symbols at the lookout post and signposts supplied additional elements of the projection subject.

 

 

LOP56 The projection subject for the lookout post near Rossroe was made with the remains of the shipwreck of the Bibroch trawler near Letterfrack. For this purpose, elements of the ship’s hull and portholes were geometrically adapted to the architecture of the LOP.

 

 

LOP58 A Ministeck mosaic kit was used to replicate a lookout post in advance and was subsequently adapted to fit the building’s facade.

 

 

LOP60 The ruins of this lookout post were first photographed and then post-processed with an effect. The result was then projected back onto the building from the same perspective. The same procedure was used to stylize original photographs of coastguards that were colorized and incorporated in the projection subject.

 

 

LOP66 Near the lookout post at Lenadoon Point in Killala Bay is a stone beach surrounded by fossil deposits. The projection motif for this post was based on images of these fossils.

 

 

LOP74 A projection pattern was spontaneously created from the drawing of a spider. The spider was found at the entrance to the property where the lookout post is located.

 

 

The additional projection motifs were predominantly created with the artist’s own graphic art and photographs. In some cases illustrations or images from other artists were also used.

LOP23 illustrations by Harry Clarce 
LOP24 illustration from the Book of Kells, Trinity College Dublin
LOP33 Night and Sleep, Evelin De Morgan
LOP34 Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault
LOP55 illustration by Gustave Doré
LOP62 illustrations by Harry Clarce
LOP64 collage made of illustrations by Alfons Mucha
LOP81 “the donegal express,” poem by Shane Macgowan (A drink with shane macgowan)

The photographic results of this light art project are published at www.lookoutpost.com