Contemporary multi-disciplinary artist Ian Strange transformed a 19th-century Victorian terrace home in suburban Sydney using piercing beams of LED light in his latest public installation.

Commissioned by the City of Sydney as part of their 2021 Art & About public art program, and created in collaboration with design firm OFFICE and production company Scoundrel Projects, Light Intersections II is a site-specific light installation at a dilapidated house in Surry Hills, Sydney.

This work, which was on view in June-July 2021, forms the second iteration of Strange’s ongoing Light Intersections series, which explores manifestations of the hand-drawn line on the landscape and the built environment. The artist had earlier created a light installation for the Lyon Housemuseum Galleries’ inaugural exhibition in 2019.

According to Strange, Light Intersections II interrogates the terraced suburban home with luminous beams penetrating the walls, ceiling, and windows across two planes; the lines of light are meant to suggest large-scale hand-drawn lines in real space. “This work creates an abstracted two-point perspective that punctures the building’s exterior and interior walls,” he observed.

Strange used 120 metres of LED lighting in combination with engineered steel to create the illusion of light beams on the house’s facade as well as interiors. The installation is accompanied by an essay titled ‘Threads of Vision’ written by Dr Rory Hyde, associate professor in architecture, curatorial design and practice at the University of Melbourne, and design advocate for the Mayor of London.

"By making lines of perspective visible, Ian Strange has in a way retrieved this idea from history’s pile of discarded concepts. The installation ‘Light Intersections II’ reveals the lines of perspective as they collide through a terrace house in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, reimagining it as an abstract geometric composition. Dozens of glowing sticks dive effortlessly through the shell of the house, tracing imagined paths through space, illuminating the invisible lines of construction,” Dr Hyde wrote in his essay.

“We see the simple artifice of this intervention – LED tubes propped up by scaffolding, bolts and cables – and yet it appears as something from the digital realm, as though we are looking at the city through the screen of 3D modelling software. The sticks of light are immaterial, lacking weight or substance, slicing improbably through the house’s heavy brick walls."

Strange’s installation, Dr Hyde argued, is also a comment on the spiralling residential real estate prices in today’s world where homes are packaged as assets to be traded, “stripping them of their domestic role, no longer places to be lived in, but to be flipped”.

“Through the simple addition of these lines of light, this unremarkable terrace house, once a product to be acquired, is transformed into something which resists. It asserts another future for the city, one guided by possibility and ideas, rather than mere speculation.”

In a statement, Strange noted, “The lines of light in Intersections are an attempt to place abstracted perspective lines back into the environment. These drawn perspective lines don’t appear in nature, but are staples in both painting, drawing, and architecture, used as a way of containing, representing, and changing the natural environment.”

Photograph: Ian Strange