Sponsored Articles

The Bay Lights – A light sculpture by Leo Villareal

The bay lights. Light sculpture by Leo Villareal. &Copy; Lucas SaugenThe Bay Lights is a light sculpture realized by the artist Leo Villareal that was inaugurated the 5th of March, 2013. The project, called the world’s largest LED light sculpture, illuminates the bridge’s 2.9 kilometers western span with 25.000 LEDs attached to the strings of the suspension cables. The complex installation changes the character of the Bay bridge and turns it into visually appealing structure, that can match the attractiveness of the well-known Golden gate.

From the distance the installation appears as bright, blinking light mass, but every pixel of the LED strips can be controlled individually, thanks to a software developed by Leo Villareal. With his laptop he can change the patterns and dynamics of the installation. This mixture of technical and artistic skills fits particularly good in a city full with start-ups, technology wealth and busy programmers.

The Bay Lights was originally conceived by Ben Davis, Chair of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Illuminate the Arts, which aims to support and create outstanding works of public art. Illuminate the Arts’ mission is to produce and promote innovative contemporary art with civic impact, social activation and global reach to stimulate a culture of generosity, community, collaboration and love worldwide.

The bay lights. Light sculpture by Leo Villareal.Watch a video of the light sculpture…

Martin Brynskov

“Media Architecture is a perfect example of what is happening with the digitization of our societies in general”, says Martin Brynskov, General Chair of the Media Architecture Biennale 2012 and 2014.

According to him communication and information technologies were optional, and most of the people still had the possibility to opt-out of using them. With the increasing deployment of technologies in the city -as for example media facades- this option is waning and life in the cities is becoming more and more digital.

Such development still needs to be understood with a mix of competences that take into account the architectural aspects as well as the technological challenges related to it. “Media architecture is this wonderful and scary mix of traditional architecture competences, skills and problems – and something completely different.”

Tesseract – Exploring a cube’s fourth dimension

Tesseract installation © 1024 architectureTesseract is a light installation created by 1024 architecture. It was inspired by the tesseract, a geometrical form often described as a four-dimensional cube. The installation reinterprets the mathematical concept with moving lights that create further geometrical shapes within a cubic structure.

For the installation the artists use common scaffolding structures to build a large cube. The external faces of the cube are covered with translucent fabric. In the inside, a number of robotic lights are attached to the main structure in arrays. This set up allows the display of complex geometrical compositions, in which angles, depth, and movement create shapes in space. The the swift movements of the robotic lights create and deconstruct volumes in the air.

Tesseract was first shown at the New Forms Festival 2013 in Vancouver. It has also participated in the Signal Festival 2013 in Prague as well as in the GLOW festival 2013, Eindhoven.

Tesseract installation © 1024 architectureWatch a video of Tesseract

FixMyStreet

Fix_My_Street_01FixMyStreet is a pioneer project of the civic tech area. It is basically a web-application that lets citizens report problems with infrastructure in their city. The reports are then sent automatically to the responsible authorities, who should evaluate and eventually solve them. Potholes in the roads, broken street lights, abandoned vehicles can be easily marked in an online map, the web-app takes care of sending it to the local administration.

Unlike a project like Maerker, FixMyStreet was not started by local governments but by a non-profit organization called mySociety. Thus, the website does not take responsibility for resolving the problems reported, it just creates an easy way for the citizens to take action when they see some defect in the city’s infrastructure. This information is then forwarded to the corresponding authorities, who can process the requests and address the issues reported. The system should also prevent the repeated report of a single problem, streamlining the maintenance of infrastructures in the city. The application is now offered as a service to city councils.

As most of the web-based applications, FixMyStreet works across different platforms: desktop and mobile devices are supported and it can be accessed through the browser or through their own app. Since its launch back in 2007 the project has inspired other projects in other cities in all corners of the world. Similar applications have been created in Australia, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Japan among others. As the code of the application is open source, other cities have continued its development, adding new features and adapting it to the particularities of each administration. For example, the Norwegian Unix User Group (NUUG) implemented FiksGataMi, adding support for openstreetmaps, and making many improvements to the code.

Fix My Street - Civic technology to report infrastructure problems
Credits:
Screenshots: FixMyStreet

Pipette

Pipette Installation, King's Cross © John-SturrockPipette is a light installation located at the new subway entrance tunnel of Saint Pancras Square, in King’s Cross, London. The tunnel was built to create a link between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations; a path that is used by 100.000 person per day. The light wall is the main feature of the tunnel, located on the outside of the curve, measuring nearly 100m long. It was conceived by Speirs & Major, with the artwork created by Miriam Sleeman (Cross Kings) and Tom Sloan Design.

The installation was created with the commuter’s day-to-day experience in mind. Instead of provoking hectic or stressing visual effects the team behind Pipette decided to create a calm atmosphere. When the pedestrians walk through the tunnel, they can enjoy a relaxing visual experience that contrasts with the often accelerated pace of urban life. The colors chosen by the team also reflect the concept of the installation.

The technology was provided by The Light Lab, which designed, manufactured & installed the seamlessly jointed glass wall, backlit with LEDs. It is capable of emitting the full RGB spectrum and a white light spectrum from 3.0K to 6.0K. This provides a continuous curved appearance, with no shadow lines throughout.

The tunnel itself was designed by Allies & Morrison architects. The wall was commissioned by Argent.

Pipette Installation, King's CrossWatch a video of Pipette…

Ava Fatah Gen. Schieck & Peter Dalsgaard

The conference chairs of the media architecture Biennale 2012, Ava Fatah Gen Schieck and Peter Dalsgaard, talk about the selection process for the conference. They explain how media architecture is a broad field that is being explored by different practitioners and thinkers. “On the one hand, you have traditional media façade papers; people going out and building these things and talking about their experiences. But it actually spans a much broader spectrum. So for instance we also have papers about soundscapes. We have discussions of theoretical aspects; frameworks we see emerging around ways of understanding media architecture, and how people are experiencing it – and also political papers.”

Ava Fatah and Peter are also the conference chairs for the MAB14. This year 39 papers from 23 different countries were submitted. We are looking forward for the 2014 conference!

UVA at the Serpentine Gallery

Serpentine Gallery intervention © United Visual ArtistsIn 2013 the Serpentine Gallery commissioned architect Sou Fujimoto to design a temporary structure in the surrounding areas of the gallery. The Pavillion was constructed from 20mm steel poles arranged in a complex latticework that created a cloud-like structure. The structure occupied an area of 350 square-meter, yet its delicate structure blended itself with landscape of the gallery. The architect described this free-flowing space as a transparent terrain.

United visual artists (UVA) temporarily transformed the Serpentine Gallery’s summer pavilion, bringing the structure to life with lights installed in the matrix designed by Sou Fujimoto. The performative installation of UVA aims to make the architecture “breathe” around the people, as the light patters slide rapidly through the structure. The installation of UVA explores thoroughly the 3D possibilities offered by the pavilion, highlighting and deconstructing volumes with light. For this piece UVA reference their past works which, similar to Fujimoto’s, rely on geometric foundations and interests.

To create the installation, LED strips encased in plastic tubes were attached with magnets to the temporary pavilion’s steel grid. The performance was accompanied with thunder-like sounds, created by the artists by mixing samples of the hums and buzzes of electric power stations and synthesised sounds.

Watch more pictures of UVA’s intervention…

Motor city mapping – Rescuing Detroit from urban decay

The aim of the Motor City Mapping project is to support the renaissance or the creation of strong neighborhoods. Many buildings and homes in Detroit have good structural conditions, often with remarkable architecture and beautiful features, yet they are abandoned because of the blight that surrounds them. When the inhabitants realize that there is no future for their neighborhood’s they are simply forced to move somewhere else.

To counteract this trend, it is crucial to accelerate the process of demolishing the vacant buildings in poor conditions. However, identifying such buildings is an enormous task, that requires man force, inventiveness and a bit of technology. The Blight Removal Task Force was created to provide the City of Detroit with a blight removal system that use all the existing resources in Detroit and suggests new recommendations to set up a scalable, efficient, and environmentally safe strategy. As part of this strategy the Task force teamed up with Data Driven Detroit and Loveland Technologies to create a system to report, store and process the data related to structures in poor conditions.

Motor city mapping project © https://www.motorcitymapping.org (more…)

Light barrier – Floating light shapes

light_barrier_kim_and_chips_01Light Barrier is an art installation by Kimchi and Chips (Elliot Woods and Mimi Son). The installation premiered on 4–6 June 2014 at the New Media Night festival, a digital arts event including experimental music and workshops in Russia.

The installation crosses millions of light beams to create phantoms of light in the air. The rays are coordinated and directed towards single points. The combination of points generates shapes which float within its environment. This creates the impressive, ephemeral effect of the installation, where shapes magically appear, wander around and fade away. With this installation the artists explore the light barrier as a metaphor; a universal law which stops anything from travelling faster than a photon. The installation exposes exotic phenomena which serve to reinforce these fundamental laws.

light_barrier_kim_and_chips_02Watch a video of Light Barrier…