Connecting Light explores opposing ideas of borders and connection through landscape art installation, open-source electronic hardware and software, and networks. Hundreds of six-foot-in-diameter balloons, equipped with high-powered LEDs driven by radio devices, illuminate Britain’s greatest Roman monument: the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.
Arrays of balloons are distributed among several Hadrian’s Wall viewing locations, creating a land-scale communications network transmitting audience-generated messages—represented as pulses of brightly colored light. Messages can be viewed on-site from Friday, August 31 through Saturday, September 1; remote audiences can personalize, transmit, and see messages via this Web site.
The electronic hardware and software underpinning Connecting Light is available as open source with the hope that others transform landscapes by constructing their own illuminated networks. Materials lists, plans, assembly instructions, and how-to guides can be found in the Connecting Light blog.
Connecting Light is part of the London 2012 Festival, a 12-week cultural celebration for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games that convenes leading artists from across the world to create new artworks. Opening on Midsummer’s Day 21 June and running until 9 September 2012, the festival gives people across the UK the opportunity to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games through culture and the arts.
Connecting Light is a signature event for the Cultural Olympiad programme in the north of England.
YesYesNo is a new interactive collective specializing in the creation of engaging, magical installations that combine creativity, artistic vision, and cutting edge R&D. YesYesNo aims to develop work that puts creativity and awe at the forefront of interactive media.
Eric Rosenthal and Rob Faludi provided technical consultation. Derek Chung, Ryan Ong, and John O’Neill developed the backend; Arturo Castro and Andy Wallace helped with the software. Type/Code, Michael Yap, and Barbara deWilde provided graphic design, interaction design, and web development. Chris Woebeken and Jihyun Lee prototyped interactions. Countless volunteers also donated there time to help bend wire, cut silicone, inflate balloons, setup equipment and so on.
Connecting Light is commissioned by the Local Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, and funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Support with support from Arts Council England and Newcastle University / CultureLab. The Hadrian’s Wall Trust is the delivery partner for the installation.
Culture Creative, Arciform, English Heritage, Tyne & Wear Archives, Newcastle City Council, Vallum Farm, National Trust, Northumberland National Park Authority, Vindolanda Trust, Walby Farm Park, Carlisle City Council
Connecting Light concepting and development was aided by Tangible Interaction / Alex Beim.
Connecting Light is driven by Digi International‘s iDigi Device Cloud, Programmable XBee radios and ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways. Digi Professional Services helped to design the network architecture as an Internet of Things solution.
Connecting Light features pieces printed by Makerbot Industries, which develop open source 3D printers designed to democratize manufacturing.
Connecting Light features high power LED and control panels build at Guang Sheng Yuan Electronics, a professional PCB manufacturer in Taiwan.