So Fly(light)

Studio Drift’s Fragile Future has been a favorite of mine since I saw it years ago at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. And they’re still cranking out the awesome!

Flylight is another beautiful design from Studio Drift. Each piece is composed of at least 180 glass tubes, each individually controlled and sensitive to movement. They react to movement according to a programmed DNA. Each movement of Flylight is unique; there are no repeating patterns. Read about what Studio Drift says about the design DNA below:

The glass tubes that light up and respond to the viewer are inspired by the behavior of a flock of birds and the fascinating patterns they seem to make randomly in the air. Actually this behaviour is not as accidental as it looks; birds have to keep a safe distance from each other. What will happen if an intruder interrupts their flight? This is what the viewer will experience when approaching the FLYLIGHT. We converted this bird-behaviour into a digital DNA and translated it into understandable visualizations with light.

Check out a bit of the video below to see how the piece interacts with humans:

The Bay Lights

Wow! The Bay Lights proposal is one of the coolest urban public lighting proposals I’ve seen in a while. The San Francisco Bay Bridge is a massive canvas, and an unparalleled location for a lighting playground. Numerous cities have treated their bridges with light, but for some reason, this particular proposal just glows:

The Bay Lights website is absolutely worth checking out. They are also looking for support, so if you are in a position to offer any, that information is also on their website, along with multiple renderings, videos of the bridge and project supporters, and more.

Artificial Moon in Xujiahui Park

“Artificial Moon” by Wang Yuyang uses various fluorescent light bulbs to create a400 cm (>13 feet) representation of our moon, complete with representations of craters, maria, and rims. Even stronger than the piece itself to me is the choice of location for this piece in 2008, Xujiahui’s park, one of the last remaining park areas in the city. Due to light pollution the moon can rarely be seen in the Shanghai skies, which makes this representation so much more powerful. It has since 2007 been displayed in other locations as well. Check it out!


Thanks, Art Hub Asia and Transmediale!

Isabelle Hayeur’s “Fire with Fire” Installation

Have you seen Isabelle Hayeur’s video installation called “Fire with Fire?” Check out this video:

This is pretty awesome! As Make Magazine puts it, and in the words of Mark Frauenfelder, “I think people who enjoy getting mad will enjoy getting mad” at this art installation by Isabelle Hayeur.

From Isabelle Hayeur’s site on Fire with Fire:

3 channels video installation.
Video projection of 15 minutes playing in continuous loop.
3 Blu-ray players, 3 video projectors.

112 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.

Fire with Fire has been commissioned by
The Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
Curator : Marlene Madison.

The Downtown Eastside is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver; it is also the most run-down. This historic area is infamous for being plagued by social problems due to poverty. Before falling prey to serious urban decay, it has known brighter days, and was even the city’s business hub until the 1980s. Derelict for over twenty years, in more recent ones, it has started to be sought after again. The Downtown Eastside is undergoing a major mutation –witness the newly renovated buildings and the constructions sites that now dot the area.

The coming of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is accelerating the Downtown Eastside’s transformation by heightening real estate speculation and gentrification; new condo towers and big box stores are appearing. The revamping of the neighbourhood seems more responsive to the expectations of people who are better-off. Tensions between real estate developers and members of the community are palpable, with fears of a form of implicit “social cleansing”.

It is striking that the history of the Downtown Eastside began in destruction and disappearance. In 1886, soon after the city was incorporated, the Great Vancouver Fire swept down on the neighbourhood and razed almost all of it to the ground. The video installation Fire with Fire recalls this troubled period of Vancouver’s history. It also alludes to the neighbourhood’s present conditions by reminding us that many lives have been consumed there, worn down by years of homelessness, drug use, street prostitution, and violence.


ResoNet – An LED Spider Web

ResoNet is an interactive lighting installation that reacts to vibrations in the vicinity – a wave of wind, someone shaking the structure, whatever.  I’ll let the video speak for itself, but it’s kind of like a big light up spider web:

ResoNet was designed by Mark Francis Tynan and William Hailiang Chen.

La Vitrine by Moment Factory and Photonic Dreams


I just read about a permanent installation project in Montreal called La Vitrine, which is an interactive LED wall that reacts to people as they walk by and glance at the project.  From Fubiz:

Moment Factory ( developed the interactive system and designed the interactive content.  PHOTONIC Dreams ( created the original LED video wall of La Vitrine, in Montreal.

The installation includes tracking devices and low-resolution LED displays and is capable of showing many different visualizations based on the presence and movement of people.

Visitors can interact with the installation every night from 7 PM to 11 PM.
La Vitrine, 145, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal

Also, from the Moment Factory website:

Moment Factory’s recent premiere of North America’s first permanent interactive giant exterior wall won the Grand Prize in Montreal’s 2008 “Creativity Awards” in the Urban Integration category and found itself on the front cover of the awards’ journal. Initially a temporary pilot project, the wild public popularity of La Vitrine led it to be rendered permanent. The judges summarised the project as being “quintessentially Montreal,” expressing the playfully collective identity of the city.

La Vitrine – Montreal from steven bulhoes on Vimeo.



Moodwall, Amsterdam

The video above is a project called the Moodwall – an interactive LED installation by the Urban Alliance collective.  The Moodwall is an Amsterdam marvel, adding light and security (and entertainment) to the tunnel where it resided.  The “urban wallpaper” of sorts is made from about 2500 LEDs behind a translucent poly wall of some sort.

The tunnel’s screen is stretched out horizontally so that the images are better viewed from the side, and outside the tunnel, which makes people want to view it from the outside, and also prevents the tunnel from becoming a loitering spot (at least in theory).

Urban Alliance is a collaboration of designers and developers – Studio Klink which does architecture and design; Illuminate, specializing in interactive lighting and video content; and Cube Architects that specializes in building design and development.




Thanks, Yatzer!

Aleksandra Stratimirovic – The City and Sunny Day

The City is an installation by Aleksandra Stratimirovic that we’ll get to in a moment – her name is new to me, but her work is very deep.  As a lighting artist, she’s created a variety of works, from luminares to Sunny Day, a backlit picture made from medical jars full of colored liquid.  Beautiful work – very vibrant.  It’s interesting enough to post about it in an article about another of her works.

From Aleksandra’s portfolio site, about Sunny Day:

sunny-dayjpg vzigalicajpg

Now, back to the original point of the article…


The City is installed right now in the County Administrative Court, Tegeluddsvägen 1 in Stockholm, Sweden – 150 hours’ worth of art and light mimicks the life of a city as seen from above, in a way.  Obviously the beholder of this beauty wouldn’t be able to observe all 150 hours at once, but the fact that it’s constantly moving and evolving is beautiful enough – at least for me.  I guess I’m simple.

Jacob Kimvall wrote this about The City and Aleksandra’s work:

Stratimirovic herself has written that her aim was to depict the melodies of a city in a tale of light, which would rather tend to suggest a reading as a concretization than any actual connection to sensory impressions from an external reality. Though for me it also brings to mind the stylistic designation of synesthesia, where different sensory impressions are woven together to create a unified experience. In instrumental jazz for example the depiction of night time city lights is such a commonplace that hardly anyone would even think of it as synesthesia any more.

Like a melody, The City also has an extension in time. It takes 150 hours in all for the programme to repeat. This duration makes it practically impossible to take in all at once, just like any really large city. This and the mention of “the melody of the city” make me think that it cannot refer to any particular city but rather to the city as a notion. The shifting images tell of a city of meetings and movement, of constant change and cyclic repetition.

I think the explanation is nearly as lovely as the installation.  Please visit Aleksandra’s portfolio site.  There’s lots of beautiful work to see.




Thanks, Mitja from Enlighter!


The artist Rosalie has brought an installation called HYPERION_Fragment to the ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany – HYPERION_Fragment is a 3,150 LED display about 9 1/4 meters high and 27 meters wide – it’s HUGE!  The LEDs are programmed to display a river of light across several very distinct color effects.  Check out the videos, and check out Rosalie’s website – she’s got some cool work!

DA Therrien’s Beautiful Light

The above video is of the installation Beautiful Light from DA Therrien – the installation is over, but it was in Scottsdale, AZ on the 16th and 17th of January.  This is a huge installation – 500 kW – and according to the Beautiful Light website, Beautiful Light “explored the purity of white light, the mystery of language, the precision of digital codes and the magic of 4 letters – A, C, G, T – representing the DNA code, and consequently, all known life.”

This thing was 80 feet wide – white light – high voltage.  A wonderful statement in the dark desert – I would have loved to see this from far away, several miles in the desert – I imagine the ambient light illuminating the desert night from this piece was stunning.

From the DA Therrien website about Beautiful Light:

Installations in the BEAUTIFUL LIGHT series are derived from ideas that I have been fascinated with since childhood, most specifically, the phenomema of light and electricity and the role of light in our belief systems, language, biology, natural world and cosmology – light as illumination, energy, information – and as a metaphor for good and evil. It is also one of our earliest technologies – fire to drive out the night.

The term “Beautiful Light” is double edged, describing both the observable physical nature of pure light and representations in various belief systems and cultures – Egyptian, Greek, Judaism, and later, Christianity. In Egyptian mythology, the god Taht (Apollo in Greek) was represented as a “beautiful light” and this light represented knowledge itself. In the Bible, angels are described as beings of light – messengers of light.

In addition to my interest in light and electricity, I have a fascination with language and the codes that represent it, both analog and digital. The 4 LETTER WORD MACHINE, the first installation in the BEAUTIFUL LIGHT series, explores the purity of white light, the mystery of language, the precision of digital codes and the magic of 4 letters – A, C, G, T – representing the DNA code, and consequently, all known life.

This thing is awesome.  My friend Erica sent me the link.  Thanks, Erica!