Amorphous lighting network in controlled physical environments

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1 Amorphous lighting network in controlled physical environments Omar Al Faleh MA Individualized Studies Concordia University De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8 Alkemie Atelier 5225 Hutchinson St. Montreal, Quebec Canada H2V 4B4 Topological Media Lab Concordia University De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8 Abstract The amorphous lighting network is a lighting system that can be controlled programmatically and without the need for a specific light distribution in space. This position paper talks about The Topological Media Lab s previous projects using this lighting system, and a present project that involves a shared reality urban game Author Keywords Amorphous lighting system; shared reality; telepresence; DMX; i-cue; Urban exploration. ACM Classification Keywords J.5 ARTS AND HUMANITIES General Terms Design; Experimentation Copyright is held by the author/owner(s). CHI 13, April 27 May 2, 2013, Paris, France. ACM XXXX-XXXX-X/XX/XX.

2 Introduction Pneuma; Falling Forest (2008, Harrop, Sha, Navab) The amorphous lighting networks is a project where ad hoc lighting system can be controlled remotely without strictly positioning the light sources in preset positions in space. The system works by installing a number of dimmer boxes or LED controllers that allow for multiple DMX protocol channels which can be controlled by a networked messaging. These light control interface can be plugged into a mixer board for manual change of intensity, and an also receive networked messages in OSC1 format (Open Sound Control) which allows artists, musicians, and computer vision artists to map their systems to the lighting system and create animated responses. The Topological media lab (TML) at Concordia University is a research creation laboratory that invites artist and programmers from a multitude of backgrounds and interests to collaborate in building responsive architectural environments, choreographed media performances, urban interventions, and real time audio and video processing systems. The TML has done several projects with controllable lighting system, from regular spotlight systems to controlled motorized spotlights, i-cue motorized lightmirrors systems, and LED lights. Figure 1. Pneuma outside view (image courtesy of Navid Navab Pneus aims to construct an immersive experiential condition in which the participants impression is that of being within a forest. Air-filled plastic sculptures laced with sensors and LED illuminators breath, filter and reproject data harvested from outside as patterns light and sound. Pneus will engage the temporality of responsive gestures to create a complex layering of delayed and accelerated behavior, climate, movement, temperature and proximity. Pneus will be a memory bank of responses, actively replaying the one day s event in an evening, whether there are witnesses or not. It uncannily embeds the activity of a forest of life without being obvious.

3 CCA 20:20 (2009, Sutherland, Navab, Sutton, Sha) Inside the gallery, a time-lapse projection of the sky on the ceiling and a subtle black and white responsive projection create an immersive experience for spectators of a musical performance by BRAIDS. Bright Shadow dance (2012, Fortin,Stein, Faleh, Allen, Sha) Figure 2. CCA outside window view. (image courtesy of Navid Navab Immersive LED lighting and projection installation for the Canadian Center for Architecture's 20 Years: 20 Hours event. High-power RGB LED luminaires aimed at the windows of the adjunct Shaughnessy House fully illuminate the interior. The only light in the interior of the house came through the windows, which were covered with diffusing paper. Figure 3. Bright Shadow dance Spotlight Game The room is awash with color while the LEDs cycle through a wash of hues and intensities to suggest a low-resolution sunrise and sunset rolling across the four rooms. The speed of the sunset and the color changes are modulated by a live feed from the DJ and other environmental sounds within the building. Bright Shadow dance is a playful experiment where an animated spotlight moves in the space trying to follow moving bodies. Bright Shadow dance creates a duality between life and motion, and honors physical energy with a symbolic presence by revealing the body that moves the most.

4 This project invites participants to engage in an unchoreographed dialogue by compelling them to steal or run away from the spotlight. Bright Shadow dance uses i-cue 2 animated mirror system with DMX 3 messaging protocol. Parkour (2013, Sha, Faleh, Arawjo, Fortin ) in progress This project is an attempt to simulate remote presence in the built environment using non-representational media and lighting animation techniques. The project is a parkour-like urban exploration game that simulates the movement and speed of a participant in a remote geographical location, and visualizes their motion data by overlaying it on the built environment using computational lighting animation sequences. This visualization creates a fold in space and overlays the physical topography with an imaginary one, thus bringing into question concepts of dimensionality and distances. This telepresence frees the tightly packaged urban compositions, and relocates/recombines them according to new logics (Mitchell, 104). This concept draws some inspiration from the myth of the king of Babylon who, in order to visualize the planned expansion of his city, went up the hill and asked the planner to stack some hay where streets will be built and set it on fire. From that hill, he could see the potential form of a city that did not yet exist, but potentially could. This project steers away from the visual representation of a site and the surrounding of participants, for this simulation should not recreate the remote reality, thus becoming the next Lascaux cave model, a replica that could slowly take over the real or render them both unreal (Baudrillard, 9). Therefore, our lighting animation would not merely map location data into a cartesian grid of light bulbs. Instead, motion, speed, and directionality will be extracted from the player s motion through space, and visualized through amorphous light network (ALN) software. Our technique is to focus design on mapping features of individual and collective movement to effects and affects modulated by the ALN in a way that is usefully independent of particular physical placement of the light fixtures. One advantage of this decoupling is that we can layer the lighting animation design with independent layers of scenographic design. One inspiration for this project is the Pulse Park 4 installation by Raphael Lozano-Hemmer (2008) where lighting animation is driven by people s pulse sensed with body biofeedback technology. However, our aim is to break away from solely human interaction with a 1-1 action-reaction, and instead leave space for doubt, interpretation, and misunderstanding, and the ability to build a mental construct of the parallel universe where the actions are taking places. The game will be a follow race simulation between two players. One player will be the lead (holding the virtual baton) and running around in a space in one location, and the other player (the follower) will have to follow the trail of lights in a different location.

5 A mobile baton app will function as a position tracker for the leader. It will allow the players to pass and exchange virtual batons to switch roles. The follower will receive a visual indication by the lights that the roles have been inverted. This project, an urban exploration game, aims at guiding players through predefined path within the built environment, and is currently being implemented in controlled environments where networked lights can be controlled using DMX protocols and internet-based exchange of position signals. The goal for the following phase is to break away from the cabled settings and work towards a wirelessly networked light objects that are not necessarily anchored to lighting poles and urban fixtures, rather through floating light agents that can be deployed in forests and parks in free-form arrangements and settings. Bibliography Mitchell, William J. City of Bits. Cambridge, MA: MIT press, Baudrillard, Jean. "Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and simulations." Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings (1998). References [1] " Open Sound Control protocol." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 16 February Web. 22 February 2013 < > [2] I-Cue Intelligent Mirror. I-Cue Intelligent Mirror - Web. 22 February 2013 < [3] " DMX512." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 17 February Web. 22 February 2013 < [4] Lozano-Hemmer, Raphael. Pulse Park (2008). Raphael Lozano-Hemmer. Web. 22 February 2013 <