Artist Focus 10: Impossible

20 September, 2013

As well as working at the interface between participatory and digital arts and mixing the technological with the lyrical, Impossible also produces a wide range of projects combining participatory events, new technologies and installation to involve and intrigue people from many different backgrounds.

This partnership between Chris Squire and Charlott Diefenthal is based near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, and both of them believe that the arts can represent familiar aspects of people’s lives in new ways, and that it does not need to be just for the elite. Their projects offer fresh perspectives in events that range from large scale visual poetry to intriguing involvement through a creative conjunction of context-aware new practice and active participation.


Lightweight is a magical and mesmerizing participatory projection installation. It is highly accessible and engages the audiences in a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience that is open to everyone.

Lightweight is an elegant 4m inflatable orb that looks dead simple. But it is also the hiding place for complex electronic, sonic and optical equipment developed to create seemingly mysterious and effortless effects.

Of all the modes it can present, the simple passing of clouds – reduced to tones of blue and white and matched with music spilling from seven hidden speakers – are some of the most entrancing and visually pleasing.

But equally the joy participants find in discovering themselves within live animations spinning around the full 360 degree screen is a wonderful moment that Lightweight can offer.

Having audiences and passers-by able to witness their own image mapped into the artwork in this way offers the chance for the public to move the border between the author and the receiver and to configure the relationship between our body and the civic space we share.

It raises issues of democracy, public space, being together and being individual. How being in a space can make a difference to it, perhaps even how we create public space.

More than this it asks how an idea be both tolerant to individuality and also to collectivity, without polarising them. This is ‘Lightweight’.


The word Revolution comes from the Latin ‘revolvere’ and was first applied to the regular and repetitive motion of the planets by astronomers like Copernicus in his seminal work ‘On the Revolutions of Celestial Bodies’. This used provable natural order to displace the earth from the centre of the universe.

However by the sixteenth-century the word had passed into the vocabulary of astrologers who claimed to predict the future from the study of the heavens. They began to use “revolution” to mean unforeseen events determined by the conjunction of planets involving forces beyond human control.

So the original scientific meaning of regularity and order came to mean the very opposite – sudden and unpredictable events in human affairs.

Impossible is therefore interested in the revolution that technology can offer to public engagement in artwork. They are also concerned with the notion of revolution where things come back around but in a new context, so that people now see things anew or in a new light and have it mean something fresh.

‘It raises issues of democracy, public space, being together and being individual. It leads us to question how being in a space can make a difference to it. How do we create public space? And what does the word “public” even mean today?’ Impossible

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