‘Luftwerk’ Lecture Recap

Last week, I attended a free lecture curated by the independent design publication Mas Context, led by two visual artists Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero, who go by Luftwerk. I previously spotlighted the duo, who met as graduates at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, before the lecture with their work of “Luminous Field” at Millennium Park. It was one of their biggest installations where Luftwerk explored light, color, and space — and how visitors interacted with it at CloudGate. The stunning visuals are a must-see, in addition to the few spliced into the gallery above.


Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero: Luftwerk @ Mas Context March Lecture (Photo: Sgt. Tibs)

The lecture was a chronological journey from the duo’s earliest projects through their most recent ones and a look to the future projects ahead. Petra and Sean presented the projects on their website, luftwerk.net, with explanations of the creative process of each one and their growing understanding of working with the architecture of each site. Both Petra and Sean earned educational backgrounds at SAIC, but not in architecture, so it was amazing to hear their perspective on learning on the fly, so to speak, given their related knowledge. They got their first-hand understanding of working with architecture in one of the grandest ways possible: by creating a video installation on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. The behind the scenes details they shared about the Fallingwater experience, and just the depth of preparation required for this, and all of their projects was fascinating.

My favorite Luftwerk projects:

– Skywall: a giant wall of ice installation that also explored the sound of the water dropping from the melted ice.

– The aforementioned Fallingwater and Luminous Field.

SHIFT: a superb, visually engaging installation of the interaction between colors themselves and light, plus human interaction. Click the links and peruse the gallery for the visuals and more info behind each project.


Salute to Luftwerk for their progressive and exploratory art. I can’t help but see the resemblance to how James Turrell, a world-renowned artist I studied in college, creates immersive experiences. I also think Luftwerk’s, err.. work… has great crossover potential to whatever field they choose. For me being immersed in hip hop, I instantly see a further Luftwerk crossover with sound, namely in Kanye West’s concert experience. After all, I did find out from Sean he attended the Watch The Throne Tour, hah! No matter the direction Luftwerk strives toward, I look forward to see and experience what’s next.

Our work lives within the connection of light and surface, revealing an inherent texture. A video projector illuminates the surface and opens a dialogue between source and destination. Each project is a new discovery where we interpret a site, material and context to create work that sculpts an immersive environment.

– Luftwerk

View all Petra & Sean’s work at luftwerk.net.

Also picked up the Mas Context Winter Issue 'Narrative' — mascontext.com

Also picked up the Mas Context Winter Issue ‘Narrative’ — mascontext.com (more free issues + lecture info on the site)