Project Stimmungsgasometer, by Richard Wilhelmer, Julius von Bismarck and Benjamin Maus, is a giant smiley face that changes based on the mood of Berlin citizens. When they are collectively “happy” the light is a smile, and when they are not, it is a sad face. Input comes from facial recognition software (contributed by the Fraunhofer Institut) that takes in video from a strategically placed camera. The obtained mood data are then stored on a server and processed by the smiley on the screen to visualize the emotions in real-time.
Kind of hilarious, a bit weird, and somehow already feeling like its showing its age (though as I understand it, it was a temporary installation back in 2008). Data-driven artwork is already boring — that is, taking dataset x and applying it to artwork parameter y. Somehow I feel like Cory Arcangel had something to do with wrecking this for everyone, in the best way possible.
Thinking about ways to animate the intangibility of the city still seems like a good idea though.
Robert Montgomery works in a poetic and melancholic post-Situationist tradition. He’s created a number of projects that disrupt and hijack illuminated advertising billboards as well as working more directly with custom-fabricated signage.
Quadratura is a new site-specific light installation by Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena. He projected a perspective grid between two rows of columns and onto the wall behind them, thus creating the illusion of an infinite pathway. Pablo reminds us that “Quadratura was the technique used in the baroque to extended architecture through trompe l’oeil and perspective constructions generated with paint or sculpture.” I suggest watching the short video of the installation setup included on his project page as it highlights the degree to which light transforms this space.
I found this post not too long ago and have been wanting to make one of these ever since. What’s making these balloons glow is the pollutants in the air around them, with colours ranging from green (signifying excellent air quality) to red (poor air quality).
Luzinterruptus is a Madrid-based light art intervention collective. They’ve done some really large-scale works in streets around the world, this project, Garden for a not too distant future, being one of their most recent.
From their site, “For this installation we used 110 transparent food packaging containers, inside which we put leaves and branches found in the trees in the area and lights of course. Afterwards, we placed them on a wall in an ugly square in the center of Madrid and there we left our form of fashionable vertical garden.”
The work critiques the arguably impractical value of vertical gardens in public spaces, with the collective stating, “… if we continue to eradicate it from public spaces or reducing it to inaccessible vertical faces, the only form of contact with nature will be in supermarket refrigerators, packaged with expiry dates.”
I suppose what I find most interesting about their work is the relentless necessity to encounter it at night — and that they insist on working in the context of outdoor space. According to an interview on UrbanArtCore, they head out nearly once a week to create an installation; here’s hoping summer gives us that kind of time.
At any one time there are around 6000 lightning storms happening across the world, amounting to some 16 million storms each year. Such dizzying statistics are useful to hold in mind while experiencing Streetlight Storm, a new artwork by Katie Paterson.
Paterson’s work often deals with the translation of experiences of nature to representations of nature. I quite enjoy projects like this that visualize the complexities of data from the natural world in quiet, simple ways, as previously noted.
Be warned, the music kind of destroys this video. At any rate, for one month on Deal Pier in Kent, during the hours of darkness, the pier lamps will flicker in time with lightning strikes happening live in different parts of the world.
Here’s a really beautiful work, Eclipse done with fluorescent lights by the Israeli artist, Yochai Matos. Along with light installations, he also does some interesting street art that deal with highlighting perspective, glitter, and 8-bit aesthetics.
I know when we were up in Peterborough, I had wanted to work with fluorescent lights, but from the little research I did, it seemed prohibitively expensive. Does anyone have any insight they could share on how one might work with these lights in this way, maybe specifically—does each light need a ballast, or is there a way of wiring in parallel that can get around that?
SWEATSHOPPE is a new multimedia performance collaboration between Bruno Levy and Blake Shaw that works at the intersection of art, music and technology. Their project, Light Painting, is pretty slick, using a LED-tipped paint roller along with some custom software and projector to reveal a video projection through painting movements.
4 LETTER WORD MACHINE is a giant illuminated computer-controlled / live performance text display by artist, David Therrien.
Recently exhibited at part of Nuit Blanche this past Saturday attached to Toronto’s city hall, the installation displays “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.”
Guess how much I’d love to be able to work with something at this scale.
In the meantime, we’ll keep collecting images and reference points about ways of imagining the project happening.
Above is TACET by Ulla Rauter, which refers to acoustic pauses by drawing on the urban background noise making it the unwritten score of that piece of art. There’s something about instructive text that I quite enjoy.