A Pixel Forest

Video installation of Pipilotti Rist

A screen exploding in the room.

If you wanted to create a list of video artists who launched the genre and were the first to develop their art, Pipilotti Rist would without a doubt be at the top. The pioneering works of the Zurich native have been influencing video art since the 1980s.

An exhibition at the Zurich Kunsthaus that ran from February to May 2016 was devoted to her work from 1986 to the present. It was called “Your saliva is my diving suit in the ocean of pain” and was named after a line in a song that she had interpreted together with fellow artist Anders Guggisberg.

As part of the exhibition, that was visited by more than 91-thousand people from around the world, a new installation by the artist celebrated its premier: Pixelwald/The Pixel Forest. It consisted of 3,000 LED luminaries hung from vine-like cables that radiated a touch of magic.

Each of the LED luminaries was put into a thermoplastic casing and were individually  controlled via video signal. This is how the forest was brought to life and and remained in constant movement. It appears like a three dimensional work of a pointillist. Or in the words of the artist, like a screen exploding in the room.

Since LED products off the shelf before proved ineffective to meet the complex requirements of the installation, Schnick-Schnack-Systems developed a dot with powerful 360°-RGB LEDs that can be strung together freely in variable distances.

Total 332 LED chains have been installed with over 2,600 dots at the Kunsthaus Zurich. More than 2300 board cables of various lengths (300mm, 500mm and 800mm) were used. The control of the dots was carried out on a Pixel-Gate, the power supply took 22 System Power Supplies 4E and 84 Wago adapter boards.


Shortfacts Pixelwald


Video and light installation with individually controllable LED elements


Exhibition Duration

26.02.2016 - 08.05.2016

Idea, concept, production, edit

Pipilotti Rist

Lighting design, conceptualization, development

Kaori Kuwabara
dipl. Lichtdesignerin SLG
Am Wasser 55
8049 Zurich


Atelier Rist GmbH
Zypressenstrasse 76
8004 Zurich

Head of Technique

David Lang

Head of Studio

Tamara Siegrist-Voser

Hauser & Wirth
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zurich

Exhibit Venue

Kunsthaus Zurich
Heimplatz 1
8001 Zürich


FBM Studio, Zurich
Lena Huber

About the exhibition

Pipilotti Rist
Installation: hanging LED-lights, system power supplies, electric controller, media player
Dimensions variable
Duration: 35‘00‘‘

Case Study Video Installation A Pixel Forest Download