By Rachael Steven

Director and animator Jim Le Fevre has created a giant 3D stroboscope for musician Sbtrkt, which brings the mysterious feline creature pictured on his latest album to life.

The stroboscope was commissioned by Red Bull Music and record label Young Turks, and will be on display at Inner-City Arts event Summer on Seventh in Los Angeles on July 25, before moving to the city’s Guerrilla Galleries on July 28.

The 8 by 6 foot structure features the animal pictured on the cover of Sbtrkt album Wonder Where We Land (designed by anonymous art director A Hidden Place), which also appeared in Fons Scheidon’s animated promo for track New Dorp New York, shown below. The stroboscope was created as a prequel to the video, and represents the creature’s birth, says Sbtrkt, with the animal appearing to emerge from water before running over Manhattan skyscrapers and into the city.


The structure spins at 33.3rpm and is illuminated by a strobe rig to create the effect of movement. The creature was animated digitally at Nexus’ London studios, and physical models from each frame were then 3D printed, while architecture and tiers were laser cut, says Nexus.

“The project was ambitious not only in size, but in that we created a longer movement, showing the Sbtrkt character appear, move and disappear, in a smooth series of consecutive loops,” says Le Fevre. “The intricate mathematics need to be absolutely precise, across all elements, for this technique to work; from 3D printing and hand-painting 40 characters, to the code behind the bespoke system for the lighting which involves 20 banks of strobe LEDs run by a magnet sensor that continually assesses the revolutions per minute and adjusts the strobe accordingly, and every single element in between. Only when you have everything in place, and fire up the strobes and motor do you know whether it will work.”

Sbtrkt (Aaron Jerome) has collaborated with A Hidden Place on the artwork for each of his albums, and says the pair “have always tried to create translations of digital ideas into physical”. They produced a lenticular cover for track Hold On, and a self-animating sleeve for EP Transitions. “I like that the imagery can live beyond a computer screen without it being just a hologram, back to being mechanical and analogue,” he adds. It’s mesmerising to watch in the action, and the stroboscope has been brilliantly designed by Le Fevre.

Production: Nexus Interactive Arts
Director: Jim Le Fevre
3D model design: Blue Zoo 
Modelmakers and construction: Gee Staughton, Gordon Allen and Alban Allen
Strobe consultant: Michael Karliner 
Carpenter: Ewen Dickie @ Lasermake
3D printing: Jay Short @ Inition
SBTRKT art director: A Hidden Place

Read more here:: Jim Le Fevre's 3D stroboscope for Sbtrkt