Huggable Light

At the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, designer Diana Lin said the concept of d*light Huggable was to “provide companionship to those in need of comfort.”  Literally, a huggable light. Light to the rescue! This pillow is filled with warm white LEDs in bubbles of silicone, which create a diffuse, comforting light which connotes sunlight. The silicone absorbs body heat for extra huggability (that’s a technical term!).

The cushion stays lit for 4 hours off of rechargeable AA batteries before slowly dimming, or all night (or cloudy day–take that seasonal affective disorder) with 5v AC adaptor.

Sounds like a perfect thing to pair with a good book!  Now does anyone know a way light can hug me back?

 

Must Watch Short: Luminaris

Juan Pablo Zaramella’s stop motion short Luminaris has won my heart! The film effortlessly dives you in to a world controlled by light, and one man’s big ideas about that.

It is absolutely wondrous.

Below is the trailer. There are also two behind the scenes videos online showing the tests Zaramella performed with light and stop motion, but please watch the film first! If you won’t heed my spoiler warning, though… click here.

LUMINARIS (Trailer) from Juan Pablo Zaramella on Vimeo.

Where in the World is Lumen Sandiego?

STORY TIME! Try to guess where in the world Lumen Sandiego is, and learn about some RE-DONK-U-LOUS-LY cool lighting art at the same time!

Some years ago, I travelled to an “Art Island,” which hosts work by some very spectacular artists, including Claude Monet, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Tadao Ando, Yves Klein, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and most importantly for this post, James Turrell between its public art, museums, and hotel.

One museum is located underground, lit via sky lights and windows. I had just taken my first ever lighting design class, and was seeing lighting design everywhere in so much depth it was a little ridiculous (see definition for: obsession). There I saw my first piece by James Turrell, his “Afrum, Pale Blue” (1968). Seeing a piece of art made entirely of light and location impacted me, its simplicity as its strength.

The next piece of his I saw was “Open Field” (2000). There was a guide, who motioned for us to remove our shoes, and I filed in to a line with some other patrons. I felt ritual saturating the room, as we were asked to mount the stairs. We reached the top step, and stood facing the wall, and the flat expanse of uniform blue light directly in front of us. It was the flawless, the smoothest, most perfect panel of light I had seen.

Then my mind was blown.

The guide directed asked us to enter. I suppose he must have motioned, because I don’t believe I spoke the language quite good enough to have understood. I was baffled. I knew I was staring at what I could only assume is the most flawlessly backlit piece of frosted plexi ever. There was nothing to enter. If I stepped forward, I would hit the wall and have humiliated myself, and the polite people in line with me. However, we trusted the guide, and stepped in to the wall.

Wow.

It was not a wall, but a vast blue void.

Inside, to the camera, it looks like this:

But to human eyes, it looks like this:

I was in an entirely different plane, I was in flatland, I was up against a wall, I was in infinity…

Long story short, James Turrell’s work is CA-RAY-ZAY! We wandered the blue space, exploring its limits, exploring ours, before we finally walked down the steps and put our shoes back on.

 

***

 

This was my introduction to the Light and Space movement. This art movement originated in the 1960s in Southern California. It used light as an integral medium, and focused on creating “perceptual phenomena.”

Why does this matter to us as lighting designers, technicians, or light lovers? Well, let’s just ask trusty ol’ Wikipedia what the Light and Space movement involved, shall we?

Whether by directing the flow of natural light, embedding artificial light within objects or architecture, or by playing with light through the use of transparent, translucent or reflective materials, Light and Space artists made the spectator’s experience of light and other sensory phenomena under specific conditions the focus of their work.

BOOM. In that one sentence, light was referenced 5 times. That’s more than your average show review. So clearly, these artists have found a way to make one hell of an impact via light. I will speak more about Light and Space movement in the next “Where in the World is Lumen Sandiego?” and give more examples of how they expertly manipulate light, but let’s keep this first installation short… QUIZ TIME!

 

Where do you think I was? I kept it very easy as this is the first installation of “Where in the World is Lumen Sandiego,” so enjoy the feat of victory while you still can! Post a comment, or I’ll reveal next time. Have a tip for a spectacular location of light “Lumen Sandiego” should visit? Submit your tip to daphne (at) jimonlight.com or via the contact form.

 

Photographs from Mitsumasa Fujisuka

 

Just Around the Riverbend

We’re nearly there. The new look is here and we’ve moved to the new server. Thanks Media Temple!

The only thing I’m waiting for is our new content delivery network (CDN) – you know, that thing that puts all of your content all over the world so that everyone experiences a quicker site load time – to start mirroring our content. That should be a couple of days. You shouldn’t notice any negative impact in the meantime.

But until then…enjoy the new look!

P.S. – If you’re interested in advertising, we’ve got a few new places on the site to put your ad! For more info, start on the advertising page.

UPDATE: (8:00 AM PT) – It looks like the CDN has taken a liking to the site. I hope that everything loads tons faster for everybody and looks like it should. If you see an anomalies, please don’t hesitate to let me know on the contact form.

Long Overdue Changes

Greetings all. I’m sorry if you’ve noticed some downtime and other weirdness going on at the site over the last few days. I’m trying to work through all of it and give us an upgrade. Needless to say, I’m burnt out and frustrated with all of the crap that has been dealt to the site. I couldn’t stand the lack of responses or completely inadequate responses that we did receive about issues that were out of our control.

Anyway, I’m combining a change of hosting server and much-anticipated new look into this horrendous process. You should be able to see some of the new look at this point but you probably can’t see any of the photos included in articles. I’m hoping that worst case scenario for the ugliness is only through the end of Tuesday (April 24).

I’ll try to keep everyone posted with what’s going on when I can. I’ll be visiting my with my doc tomorrow for my pre-surgery appointment. One week and counting…

San Francisco Bay Bridge Lightning!

This image of our friend electricity was so neat I had to share! Phil McGrew took out this photo in a single 20-second exposure during one of the recent thunderstorms in beautiful San Francisco.

Real-Time Light Painting!

Earlier this year, the light painters JanLeonardo Wöllert and Anton Julmy used a Real Time Light Painting program. It works for both live performance and video production!

On a basic level, this video is well worth a watch because it shows how many of the more intricate light painting photographs are created. However, when you get in to what the program is doing and its applications — the video is BEYOND FASCINATING!

As Google Translate tells me, the program takes the light source, and traces its movements, colors, and intensity. It then processes the material, and adds the images collected together. The final result can either be recorded, or immediately outputted in real-time for live events. There was something about how the program can map the light paintings to objects, buildings, or stages, but Google Translate wasn’t exactly clear–if you speak German, I would love to know what you can find out about the program! Feel free to comment, or shoot me an email at daphne (at) jimonlight.com

 

Image created by JanLeonardo Wöllert.

Jim at NAB

Hey everybody! Fox here. I just wanted to check in and give a little update…

We’re still planning on a site update in the very near future. When it happens, we’ll try to make it happen on a Saturday – ’cause I can dedicate a whole day to the change over then and it won’t impact most daily reader lives. But, enough about me.

Jim’s visiting working in Las Vegas through the 19th at the CAST Group booth for NAB 2012. If you’re around, go check out what’s going on there at Booth # C9808. I’ll be visiting the floor this afternoon. Luckily, Jim and I were able to hang out for an afternoon. I took him out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for a sunset tour. It was more cloudy than sunny and quite a bit cool, but it was still a great escape from the strip and a reminder of the natural beauty that surrounds us.

So, if it seems like we’re running a little lite on the site, that’s probably why. In the meantime, make sure you are CRUSHING IT on this fine Monday!

Cheers!

150 Billion Pixels, 1 Billion Stars

Ok, have a look at this image — if you click on it, it gets really, really big:

That’s our Milky Way.  The image below here represents the material within the white square on the left — a star-forming region called G305 to astronomers and astrophysicists — again, a click makes it bigger:

That cutaway image above?  Only ten thousand stars.  SLACKERS!  (Of course I jest)

Scientists from the UK, Chile, and Europe have created the initial 150 billion pixel image by combining ten years’ worth of data into a monster survey of the Milky Way region.  From the University of Edinburgh website:

Astronomers have today released a picture containing more than one billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. It combines data from two near-infrared1 telescopes – the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii and the VISTA telescope in Chile -  and is the result of a decade-long collaboration by astronomers at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cambridge to process, archive and publish the prodigious quantities of sky survey data generated by these two telescopes.

Dr Phil Lucas from the University of Hertfordshire leads the UKIRT study of the Milky Way, and co-leads the VISTA study. He said: “The combined data on over a billion stars represent a scientific legacy that will be exploited for decades in many different ways. They provide a three-dimensional view of the structure of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, while also mapping several hundred nebulae where stars are being born. The VISTA data, in particular, is breaking new ground by showing how several hundred million stars vary in brightness over time.”

The full image contains 150 billion pixels, and the detail it contains is only revealed by the three zoom levels, centred on G305, a large and complex star-formation region: the innermost zoom covers a tiny fraction of the full image, but still contains more than ten thousand stars.

Presenting the image at the UK-German National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester, Dr Nick Cross of the University of Edinburgh said: “This remarkable image is only one of the many outputs from the VISTA Data Flow System (VDFS) project2. VDFS data is being used by astronomers around the world and has led to great discoveries in many fields of astronomy, from the coolest known stars to the most distant quasars.”

Something pretty cool:  you can view the monster image with a custom viewer at the University of Edinburgh’s website.  You have to check this out, it is  amazing.

Thanks, Space, HuffPo, PhysOrg, and Science Daily! 

Amazing Video of the Birth of the Universe

Physicists at Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA have created some pretty cool videos of how they think the universe was created — things like the birth of stars, the universe expanding, and other things that happen to be so beautiful that not showing them is a crime.  Check this out:

Way too cool.  From the press release by Stanford University:

The mysteries of the universe – from the first stars and supernovas to galaxy clusters and dark matter – are being revealed in stunningly beautiful full-color, high-definition 3-D videos played on a huge screen in an intimate theater on the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory campus.

Diaphanous veils of semi-transparent fluorescing gas and dust swirl hypnotically among exploding stars; colliding galaxies dance a cosmic do-si-do before they coalesce. These are some of the compelling scenes shown in the second-floor Visualization Lab of SLAC’s Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC.)

In addition, KIPAC’s newly redesigned websitefeatures an elegant gallery for the movies and images.

Each animation lasts just a minute or three. But whether it depicts only the few milliseconds of a supernova explosion or nearly 14 billion years of cosmic evolution, each KIPAC video shows the results of calculations involving trillions of bytes of data, and marries the latest physics theories with groundbreaking visualization techniques. The videos give scientists insights into their research that cannot be gleaned from old-school data-dump printouts. And they’re as entertaining as they are educational: the videos are featured in planetarium shows now playing to the general public in New York City and San Francisco.

As beautiful as the 3-D videos are, though, they are first and foremost scientific tools.

“I’m trying to predict the past – how the universe came to be the way that it is today,” said Tom Abel, an associate professor of physics at Stanford University and head of KIPAC’s computational physics department, who specializes in using computer calculations and visualizations to understand how the universe may have evolved after the Big Bang.

Thanks to Space.com for the image!