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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival



The laser crew at the Obscura Magica Studio

The laser crew at the Obscura Magica Studio. From the left of the picture - Bo Anderson, Jourgen Kleine (front), Herrick Türzer (and girlfriend), Jan Kriland (on ladder), Adela Lopez-Bago (in front of Jan), Arvid Brodin and L. Michael Roberts on the right - Photo by Inga

    While Jan Kriland is the artistic director with the overall vision of the show, there are many people who contribute to the event working the usual long and gruelling hours to realise the production. With an international team from Sweden, Mexico, Germany and Canada, the only language we all had in common was English!


Producer/Director/Artistic Visionary - Jan Kriland
AB Obscura Magica Productions

Jan Kriland
Photo by Frank Plughoff
    Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1951 the son of one of Sweden´s foremost surrealist artists, Jan Kriland has, since the early 1980's, used laser technology for various visual presentations, ranging from commercial shows to cultural performances. His main aim is to develop and produce artistic laser performances to provide the viewer with a full multimedia, artistic experience for all the senses.
    In 1987, the Kalmar Museum of Art in Kalmar, Sweden, planned an exhibition named "Magic Light", devoted to the role and concept of light in art. Kriland was asked to participate and accepted immediately.
    The exhibition, and especially Jan´s experimental performances, turned out to be a splendid success which moved one art critic to write that "...the queues to Kriland´s appearances are longer than those at the State liquor shop right before closing time on a Friday afternoon"....    
The hallmark of Jan's shows had always been a concern for the artistic and creative aspects over and above the "flash and dazzle" found in so many laser shows. His shows are usually designed from the ground up often with music especially composed for the production. Each show may take many weeks to produce since he is involved in the fine tuning of the sounds and the musical composition as well as creating the imagery and doing all of the usual technical work associated with a laser show. 
    For example, when commissioned to produce a show for Nike, he avoided the obvious 3D images of sneakers and concentrated on a series of abstract shapes interacting with each other, eventually ending in the familiar Nike logo. The abstract shapes were based on details of the patterns on the rubber soles of Nike sneakers.
    Each of Jan Kriland's shows is an artistic masterpiece skillfully blending the music with abstract, three dimensional and representational designs to create shows that are extraordinarily beautiful and compelling to watch. He has won two Brewster awards for his works.
    In an interview after the last show, I asked Jan Kriland what his Artistic intent for the show had been. he replied, "Well, it was to see if we could get as much people standing around a small lake, looking in different directions, interested in something that was a very sublime tale. To get something into their imagination instead of saying "Woooo" all the time, they said "Wow that was good"..."


Bo Anderson - Artist/Sculptor

Bo Anderson     Bo Anderson is one of Sweden's foremost modern metal sculptors. His works have a striking simplicity which belies the detailed surface textures and ideas that lie behind them. He extracts deep blackness from iron and conjures forth unusual and striking colours from copper sheets. Many of his sculptures have the most dramatic effect when displayed in an outdoor setting. He and Jan have worked together for many years in the realisation of their artistic visions.
    Bo provided many of the sketches and drawings from which the laser graphics were digitised. He also came up with the artistic ideas behind the stunning climax of Urström where a woman is revealed in the sky over the water surrounded by a "cage" of laser beams. He leant a lot of time and equipment to the project to insure that it would be a creative and artistic success.


Örjan Strandberg - Composer
Vision & Sound AB

    Örjan made his musical debut as a a steady songwriter for a youth program on Swedish national television in 1969. He was involved with the symphonic rock group "Dice" 1974-1980 which released 3 CDs in Japan that are still selling. He has been a professional composer on assignment with own company Vision & Sound AB since 1980 completing more than 500 assignments throughout the years.
    A selection of his works include; music for the computer game "Codename Eagle" internationally released in 1999, musical program for Louise Nathorst - Swedish world champion in dressage 1999, musical score for "Les saisons Suedoises" for the Benson&Hedges International Fireworks competition in Montreal 1994, 40 min musical score for "Aurora Borealis-the saga of the Nordic Gods"- Jan Kriland's entry at the Mondial du Laser competition Montreal 1992, and many more.
    He is a board member of The Swedish performing rights society (STIM), Swedish society of popular music composers (SKAP) and Chairman of Swedish society of Media composers.
Örjan Strandberg



Adela Lopez-Bago - Technical Director
Diseño Laser

    Adela is the technical director and problem solver for the show. She has been working with laser lasers since 1986 mostly in Mexico and Latin America. She is an electronics engineer and has designed and built many of the systems she uses in her work. As president of Diseño Laser, her experience has varied from many outdoor laser shows and corporate events in Mexico to pyrotechnics for the "Beauty and the beast" musical.
    Adela went to Stockholm a month in advance of the show to work out the technical logistics for the event. She soldered cables, made arrangements for equipment and personnel and solved technical problems as they developed. She also spent a lot of time strapped into a safety harness dangling over the water while installing equipment and cables.
Adela Lopez-Bago


L. Michael Roberts
Laser F/X International

L. Michael Roberts
Photo by Jan Kriland
    Michael is in his 24th year as a laserist. After some discussions at the Laser F/X '99 conference in Burlington, he accepted Jan's invitation to work on the Water Festival show.
His primary responsibility is the operation and maintenance of the smoke machines scattered about the site and documenting the event for this web site.
    He can be found in boats moving equipment or doing a troll imitation under bridges re-filling or servicing smoke machines. He also lends a hand with diverse tasks such as stringing cables, securing tarps and loading trucks.


Arvid Brodin - Technician
AB Obscura Magica Productions

    Arvid is a 21 year old Computer student who has just starting work with Obscura Magica. He is interested in both the hardware and software aspects of computers and hopes to write his own laser graphics software for experimentation and for the learning experience. This show is his "baptism by fire" in the laser industry. Arvid Brodin

Olle Jacobsson and Tony Bohlin - Rigging

Tony (left) and Olle (right)
Tony (left) and Olle (right)
    Olle and Tony are the rigging and "flying" experts responsible for the "basket" laser and the two scrims flown over the water. With 30 years experience in rigging and flying, Olle has worked on a variety of productions from the flying work in the Ace of Bass video to rigging 12 meter yachts in the world championships.
    With wires up to 350 meters long, the Water Festival offered special challenges. Tensioning the anchor points, especially within the historic Royal Palace, proved very challenging. Each night has brought improvements in the show as Olle and Tony work with the complex rigging system.

Fredric Förster, Sabiene Weißinger, Chris Griesemann, Timm Junker - Panis
Casa Magica

    Fredric Förster, Sabiene Weißinger, Chris Griesemann and Timm Junker are the crew responsible for the projections on the facade of the royal palace. There are 23 slides each split into four so as to have maximum resolution and image brightness. Fredric and Sabiene made two trips to Sweden to take photos and measurements of the Royal Palace. Each visit also included trips to museums and libraries to research Swedish history.
Images from the research were scanned into computer and composted so as to align correctly with the architecture of the palace. The images are pre-distorted to take projection geometry into account. Each of the slides is 18 by 18 cm and is moved into and out of the projection gate by DMX control signals.

    The projections represent the human history of Sweden. Beginning with cave paintings, old houses, Viking boats, images of the old section of Stockholm (Gamla Stan), progressing through the industrial era and forward to modern times. Ending with pictograms that represent the information age and a final image where the palace is covered with printed circuits and IC chips.



Peter Hagstrom     Peter Hagstrom is a computer and network engineer who has volunteered his holiday time to work on the Water Festival. Each evening he is the "captain" of a small rubber boat that takes a smoke machine and fan out onto the water (see Smoke on the water page)
    Johanes and Anders are from a local pyrotechnic company. When the festival organisers were unable to provided a suitable inverter to run a second smoke boat, they were called in to provide chemical smoke (the type used by the military to mark helicopter landings) for the 'basket' laser. Johanes and Anders
Robert Eurnlund     Audio engineer Robert Eurnlund from DM Audio in Stockholm is responsible for the PA system used for the shows. There are four PA towers around the site each containing 25,000 watts of amplifiers. The mid/high speakers are by Apogee and the bass bins by Yorkville. The sound track is fed from a control position below the master control scaffold to the four towers via FM link. PA operators in each of the four towers watch over the systems ready to respond if there are any problems.

    In addition, there are two crews that operate the flame-throwers atop the fire tower and the white tower, and a host of others that contribute to the success of the nightly production.


Quick Links to Report Pages

Stockholm Water Festival Report - Introduction
Sweden and Stockholm - Background and general information
The Site - Orientation to the show area and the challenges it presented
The Crew - The people who put it all together
Tech Specs - The equipment used in the presentation
The Music - An interview with the composer and MP3 file of the soundtrack
Smoke on the water - Covering a lake with smoke for beam effects
The Show - A description with many pictures
Animated Gifs - Gifs showing Palace projections and climatic beam effects
Stadshuset - Stockholm City Hall tour (very large page)
Show Diary - Day-to-day coverage of the trials and triumphs


DISCLAIMER: Some of the information in the Backstage area is provided by the persons or companies named on the relevant page(s). Laser F/X does NOT endorse or recommend any products/services and is NOT responsible for the technical accuracy of the information provided.  We provide this information as a service to laserists using the Backstage area. 

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