5,600 Silicon Rods Create an Incredible Video Curtain in London

Thousands of silicon rods form a 360° canvas for video art and performances in Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call.'

Javier Mariscal on Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call.' Photo credit: David Levene.

Seven tons of silicon rods form an unusual canvas that will play host to short films, music, and video art from artists including Kutiman, Marshmallow Laser Feast, David ShrigleyMat Collishaw, Dan Deacon, Matthew Herbert, Universal Everything, and more. It's all part of artist and designer Ron Arad's immersive installation Curtain Call, which returns to London's Roundhouse after its debut in 2011, returning in 2013, and now again in 2016.

The main circular space of the Roundhouse venue—originally an old steam engine repair shed back in the 1800s, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary as a performance space—will be filled practically from floor to ceiling (minus room for projectors and lighting at the top) with 5,600 silicon rods hanging 26' high and forming a near-60' diameter ring. Visitors are encouraged to walk inside the circle and look up at the towering 360-degree high-tech drapery.

Babis Alexiadis on Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call.' Photo credit: David Levene.

The setup means you get to literally walk through images like a portal, images which change the setting and environment depending on what they are. Short films by various artists utilize the 360° nature of the space encompassing it into the narrative—and watching a film becomes a more disrupted experience than just a flat screen that can't be tampered with. People are coming and going through the rods which sway and ripple after they've been moved. "It is a place for performances," Arad has said about it. "So I thought the installation should incorporate a performing element in it."

Marshmallow Laser Feast on Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call.' Photo credit: David Levene. Because the action is going on all around you, you crank your neck or start walking or twisting around to follow it, deciding where to look or what should hold your concentration. It can be a very active experience, though you can also just sit on the floor and let it wash over you. David Shrigley's humorous piece features a drawing of a skinny, naked figure shuffling around the space moaning and groaning as he encircles the audience, occasionally pausing to look their way. Another piece turns the rods into a giant piano as disembodied hands come down to tinker the ebony and ivory.

“Walk in, penetrate, cross the moving images to get inside the cylinder," notes Arad. "You’ll be engulfed by images—a captive, but also a creator. It’s amazing what exciting things happen on both sides of the curtain.”

Marshmallow Laser Feast on Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call.' Photo credit: David Levene.
Universal Everything 
on Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call.' Photo credit: David Levene.
Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call' at the Roundhouse. Photo credit: David Levene.

David Shrigley on Ron Arad's 'Curtain Call' with Ron Arad Photo credit: David Levene.

Watch a timelapse of Curtain Call being built below.

Ron Arad's Curtain Call is on now until August 29, 2016. Visit the Roundhouse's website to find out more about the performances. Visit Ron Arad's website here.


This Immersive Light Sculpture Visualizes Internet Connections as Laser Beams

Dancer Defies Gravity with Stunning 3D Projections

A High Fashion Dress Meets High Tech Projections