The Weight of Light

Our Time in the world is determined by the Weight we leave behind,Our Weight in the world is determined by the Light we leave behind, Our Light in the world is determined by the Time we leave behind

Rhys Votano

The Weight of Light is a series of works that Rhys Votano developed a technique where different time spans are layered to reflect the nature of light and time.

He has applied this technique to a variety of works that have exhibited across Australia, Europe and the US.

Below are some examples from the ongoing series. If you would like to exhibit these or collaborate on future works, please get in touch.


Performed by Steven Watson with sound by Eirik Boen Gravdal
Multi-screen video, 6:06 Mins, 2016

Struggle expresses the power light can have in shaping our humanly form, giving us clarity among darkness.

Water is a harmonious texture yet it had a very disruptive effect on light. The work highlights how unstable our perception of the body can be. Like a river, it is the same despite always changing.

The single screen exhibition film

Performer Steven Watson from Sydney, Australia whose muscular form appears of Herculean strength, battles with the flow and eventually collapses from the assault.

The work has screened at Arteral in Rozelle and Motion Sickness in Cambridge.

The exhibition design features hanging sheets with water dripping from them as the video imagery projects through it.


with Svala Johannsdottir and Eirik Boen Gravdal
Multi-screen video 9:25 Mins 2016

In Nilfheim at a place called Hvergelmir, there is a source of eleven rivers that claim to be the origin of all existence and the place where every living thing will return. 

Still taken from video work

We begin with blank nothingness like the white ice of Nilfheim and from this emerges the light of Ymir, whose presence solidifies to make the rocks and mountains. Its hair flowing into rivers and skin growing the grass. At the end of the chaos, a portrait of the human form holds its place in time, curiously titled. It was from Ymir’s armpits that the first man and woman grew.

Static glitches and feedback distortion search for the frequencies that pinged about before sound ever settled into the harmonies we have tuned. Like the light, it too has the objective of finding presence and stability.

Creation was produced in Iceland with performer Svala Johansdottir and sound artist Eirik Boen Gravdal.

This work can be screened as a single channel work or installed for galleries using three or five channels with the additional screens projecting the environments formation alongside.


Performed by Lucille Speilfuchs with sound by Eirik Boen Gravdal
Multi-screen video, 8:27 Mins, 2017

As for all works in the Weight of Light series, Suffocation uses a technique developed by Rhys Votano which compares three timelines into one image. The single second of time that is taken to capture an image is reflected back to the audience as both 1/8th of a second and 200 seconds simultaneously. The result plays with our perception of what it means to occupy time and how heavy a burden it can be. 

Lucille begins the piece toying with a heavy liquid substance, letting it drip and give her weight. Within the gel are tiny sparkles of glitter that drip over her body and give it an ethereal lightness. 

She plays with the contrasting textures before lifting a white sheet that is solid by form though immediately fades, its transparency veils our sense of time.

Eventually she is encased in the sheer material, gasping for breath but ultimately suffocating in it’s stillness.

Suffocation propose that our humanly presence, its form and  heaviness, the space it occupies are all an illusion of light and time.


Performed by Romi Muse

Multi-screen video, 15:00 Mins


Density is a work using water to question our perception of a material’s physical properties. Water can be soft and relaxing but in certain circumstances, it can be vicious and destructive. Like the body which can be gentle, warm and sensual in certain light, but turn violent and ugly under another.

For this work we played with water to explore what effect it has on the body.

Light / Dark

Performed by Sarah and Elene Filipi, costume by Magdalena Duma

Multi-screen video, 9:22 Mins


These early test shoots were done to understand the weight of light technique and how the light is best captured, reflected and played with. The results were used in the window display of a clothing store on Crown Street.

Light, 2014
Dark, 2014