|The Making of Sky is the Limit
After visiting Las Vegas for the first time last year, Haluk Akakçe began to see Vegas as a kind of electric painting emerging from the evening desert, and a metaphor for his own work. Sky is the Limit became Akakce’s interpretation of the city modeled after his experience there. The artist created the piece for the Viva Vision canopy screen—the largest video screen in the world—taking advantage of the screen’s overhead location. As the artist put it, “the canopy represents the limit of perception.” Considering the canopy as an electronic sky, Akakce has built a virtual world in which raindrops seem to land from above, sending ripples throughout his rendered skyscape.
Rather appropriately, Sky is the Limit also references the seemingly unlimited promise that gambling holds out to us, the power to change our destiny, for better or for worse, in the pull of a slot machine lever or the roll of the dice. The work’s narrative crescendos toward an ecstatic moment evocative of the euphoria of winning, but in fact retains much of the deliberate pacing of Akakce’s recent pieces. The sense in his work of a space out of time, in a parallel world, fits perfectly in the mirage that is Las Vegas.
Dan Donavon has composed the soundtrack for Sky is the Limit, as he has done for other works by the artist. London’s premier motion graphics shop Glassworks, Ltd. has constructed the piece in close collaboration with Akakce. Despite the very virtualized nature of the worlds he creates, the artist notes that his process is always grounded in real and mechanical forms. Having been trained as an architect, Akakce renders his work as a lengthy process of paper-based sketches, which in the case of Sky is the Limit are then built virtually as shapes on the computer, animated, redrawn, and dressed. The animation is an iterative process between the hand-drawn and the technologically-rendered, until he achieves the final work. Sky is the Limit is like an abstract ballet piece of virtual objects moving between the mechanical and the organic, a four-block-long stage across which many stories are happening at once.