Kuhaupt and Drake-Brockman

Sculpture, Installation, Performance


Laserwrap is a permanently installed animated laser sculpture that illuminates the ACT Health Building for three hours each night. Twenty green lasers literally wrap the building in a gently undulating matrix of light cubes. Laserwrap has had a transformational impact on the quality of the built environment in the nightlife precinct at the heart of Canberra. A new and unexpected addition has been made to the solid presence of a 1970s public building - in the evening it comes to life, transformed like the pumpkin before midnight into an otherworld vision. A functioning building is transposed to a plastic, performing, chimera.

The artist's vision entailed embedding an existing built object into an active laser sculpture. They wanted to take the classic mathematical system of Cartesian 3-D co-ordinates - consisting of x,y, and z axes - and use it as a metaphor for a virtualising, postindustrial worldview. They wanted to apply this metaphor on a massive scale - the huge step-pyramid presence of the ACT Health Building provided the prefect platform for this experiment.


Torso is a life size human figure derived from a body cast of one of the artists. The outer parts of Torso are made from mirror-polished stainless steel, while the central section is made from a resin-bonded composite that consists of 75% powdered white marble. The effect of the figure so rendered is that the trunk and extremities are separated visually, while remaining physically contiguous. The central torso makes reference to archaeological remnants of heroic figures from Greek antiquity. The marble used as the material for this part of the work also plays to this classical reference. The outer parts of the figure are encased in 'gloves' of reflective metal that evoke the hi-tech / sci-fi 'chrome' signifier.


Essentialiser is an interactive appliance incorporating 60 small industrial red lasers, installed along three axial mounts. Each laser produces a fan beam that creates a perfect plane of red light. The effect is that anything or anyone inside Essentialiser is embedded in a matrix of 6,859 ten-centimetre wide cubes of red laser light inside a two-and-a-half metre cubic enclosure. The enclosure is darkened internally and screened from outside light. Audience participants are able to pass through a door and enter the space where the 60 beams trace lines onto their bodies. The visible effect of the incident beams is be picked up via an infra-red video camera and displayed, on a feedback monitor inside the Essentialiser, as well as an large outside monitor, for the gallery audience to see. Essentialiser has been exhibited at the Perth Insitute of Contemporary Art ant at Collaborative Concepts Gallery in New York USA.


The key process of Geoffrey is a single-point ocular gridding of the installation space. An ideal perceptual checkerboard that is suggestive of networked and delineating technologies, as well as linear and ordered mental systems. Of course, the act of observation always influences the observed phenomena, but in the case of Geoffrey a transient act of observation has been crystallised as an observable system in itself.

In a sense, Geoffrey depicts a sensorium, an inner space or Cartesian theatre where mental processes are played out. In here, Geoffrey is both actor and audience, caught in the cycle of his own awareness. Geoffrey: information technologist, man-who-would-be-robot, logician. Under the perfect ordering principle Geoffrey is rendered monodimentional. Outside the system there are glimpses of another Geoffrey: fat man, artist, person.

Chromeskin is the result of a three year collaborative project between Geoffrey Drake-Brockman and Richie Kuhaupt. Chromeskin was a finalist in the 2001 inaugural National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition, and was on exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra from November 30 2001 to March 10 2002. The work was awarded the distinction of Highly Commended by the National Sculpture Prize judges.

Quadrascope is an omidirectional interface device that displays a large-scale animated version of Chromeskin on each side of a telephone box-sized rectangular prism. The device displays images derived from the Chromeskin laserscan data, processed against the current visual field around it. Observers are able to walk up to and around Quadrascope and approach its surfaces closely. On each face a representation of mirror surfaced Chromeskin is displayed, with the figure reflecting and reacting to the movements of the viewer in realtime. The device is a kind of 'fishtank' giving the impression of a chrome body floating within a rectangular volume. The machine uses four networked computers, four video cameras, and four 130cm plasma flat panel displays. Quadrascope is driven by synchronised 3-D rendering software written especially for the artists by headus (metamorphosis).


Lasercube is a programme exploring the application of planar beams of laser light to describe surfaces, objects and landscapes. The core Lasercube technology involves 60 industrial lasers with hemicylindrical lenses. These are mounted on armatures arranged along the x, y, and z spatial axes. The project encompasses the capture of laser effects via video and still photography and the digital manipulation and presentation of these images. The project crosses boundaries between photography, dance, video, performance, and installation artforms. Lasercube is a collaboration between Drake-Brockman and Kuhaupt and, in its dance/performance realisation, the Skadada performance troupe..

Laser beams are coherent, absolute agents that will be used in this project to introduce gridding and dividing systems applied to realworld objects. This will be done in order to conveniently reduce the object under investigation to its bare spatial necessity.

Images shown are of a performance piece (Lasercube II) developed in collaboration with Skadada, dancers; Jon Burtt and Lucy Taylor.


Richie Kuhaupt was born in Perth in 1960. He holds an MA (Visual Arts) from Curtin University of Technology. Kuhaupt has had six solo shows in Western Australia, and his works have been selected for numerous group exhibition including Sculpture by the Sea, Sydney in 1999 and 2000, Shaky Ground, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, 1999, and Added Dimension, John Curtin Gallery, Perth. Kuhaupt has received a number of awards including the Sydney Water Sculpture Prize in 2000, and the City of Joondalup Invitation Art Award in 2000, and the Waverly Acquisitive Award, Sculpture by the Sea in 1999.

Geoffrey Drake-Brockman was born in Woomera, South Australia in 1964. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Western Australia, and an MA (Visual Arts) from the Curtin University School of Art. He has been exhibiting since 1986 with various solo and group exhbitions in Australia and Grat Britain, including Sculpture by the Sea 2001 in Bondi, Sydney and 'The Identity Appliance' at Goddard de Fiddes in 1997. He was awarded the Sir Charles Gardiner Annual Art Award in 1993, and the 1997 AIIA Telstra AFR National Award for Excellence in Information Technology.

Kuhaupt and Drake-Brockman are both based in Perth, Western Australia. and have been collaborating artistically since 1999. Collaborative projects include the installation 'Geoffrey' at The Verge, Perth, the digital installation 'Chromeskin' at the National Gallery of Australia, and the kinetic sculpture 'Clownhead' for the Artrage Festival in Perth 2002. Chromeskin was awarded the distinction of 'Highly Commended' at the 2001 National Scupture Prize.

Contact: geoffrey@chromeskin.net.au