Sensing WATER

I-87/San Fernando Street, San Jose CA

paint, custom LEDs, Live weather data feed, interactive cell phone control

paint, custom LEDs, Live weather data feed, interactive cell phone control

Sensing WATER is a weather-responding and interactive artwork utilizing light and paint to define a major downtown gateway in San Jose CA. The project is composed of 2 elements, the massive painted sloped wall that abstractly references flowing water, and the overhead evening lighting that illuminates with rippling patterns of light the underpass of I-87. The project uses real-time NOAA weather data to compose different patterns of light on the ceiling. (e.g.: 0-5mph winds vs thunderstorms). The projected light maintains a similar palate to the painted sloped wall, yet becomes dynamic depending on the weather.

Sensing WATER is a weather-responding and interactive artwork utilizing light and paint to define a major downtown gateway in San Jose CA. The project is composed of 2 elements, the massive painted sloped wall that abstractly references flowing water, and the overhead evening lighting that illuminates with rippling patterns of light the underpass of I-87. The project uses real-time NOAA weather data to compose different patterns of light on the ceiling. (e.g.: 0-5mph winds vs thunderstorms). The projected light maintains a similar palate to the painted sloped wall, yet becomes dynamic depending on the weather.

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In addition to the live weather feed transforming the space, this project is also highly interactive for those players of the Ingress multi-player game. By interacting physically on site with your cell phone, players can transform the space, revealing aspects of the game for a brief amount of time.

 

The site for the work sits over the Guadalupe River. The inspiration for this piece began with the ever-present awareness of water issues in California. San Jose once was know as the Valley of Hearts Delight- before becoming the Heart of Silicon Valley. Known for its fruit orchards and fragrance of ripening fruit San Jose was supported by rich soil and abundant access to water. I was curious to link both the awareness of water issues to the new focus of the high tech industry through the use of dynamic illumination.

The site for the work sits over the Guadalupe River. The inspiration for this piece began with the ever-present awareness of water issues in California. San Jose once was know as the Valley of Hearts Delight- before becoming the Heart of Silicon Valley. Known for its orchards and fragrance of ripening fruit, San Jose was supported by rich soil and abundant access to water. I was curious to link both the awareness of water issues to the new focus of the high tech industry through the use of dynamic illumination.

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Special thanks to those folks who made this project happen: The City of San Jose, San Jose Downtown Association, Kiboworks, Affordable Painting Services, HC Reynolds, Swenson Say Faget, Niantic

 

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The Guadalupe River at this point is a culvertized river that is most often a “trickle” but fills with water during storm events.

Special thanks to those folks who made this project happen: The City of San Jose, San Jose Downtown Association, Kiboworks, Affordable Painting Services, HC Reynolds, Swenson Say Faget, Niantic

Not only do the lighting patterns change based on weather conditions, but they are dynamic- constantly pulsing and chasing, depending on severity of the weather.

Decay

Christian Petersen Art Museum, Ames, IA

phosporescent doped wall, laser system, control, programming and safety systems.

As if by magic, patterns are created then slowly fade before your eyes. A simple dark blue laser dot or line moves across the canvas creating a pattern revealed only as a fleeting after image- slowly fading as soon as it is created. It is the persistence of photonic decay that allows us to see that laser projections are merely dots of light moving so fast our eyes can not see them as individual dots, but rather blur them into complete shapes. Slowing down the laser allows us to see what and how we see.

As if by magic, patterns are created then slowly fade before your eyes. A simple dark blue laser dot or line moves across the canvas creating a pattern revealed only as a fleeting after image- slowly fading as soon as it is created. It is the persistence of photonic decay that allows us to see that laser projections are merely dots of light moving so fast our eyes can not see them as individual dots, but rather blur them into complete shapes. Slowing down the laser allows us to see what and how we see.

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Special thanks to Christopher Edrington, Roberta McHatton, Nancy Gebhhart, Lynette Pohlman and our project volunteers.

Shifting Topographies

19th Street BART Station, Oakland, CA

 High density foam,  polyuria “hard coat”, chameleon paint, Glass, specialty dynamic projections.

High density foam, polyuria “hard coat”, chameleon paint, Glass, specialty dynamic projections.

 

Inspiration for Shifting Topographies began with the shifting patterns and colors of the rolling Oakland hills (green to gold) and at the macro scale the ripples of the adjacent San Francisco Bay (gray-blue-green). Other inspirations came from the flashy paint jobs in the car culture of this community and the signature Blue BART station for which the art marked the entrance.

Note the color shifting paint that radically changes depending on angle of the sun, position of viewer and time of day

Note the color shifting paint that radically changes depending on angle of the sun, position of viewer and time of day

 

The sculpture is fabricated from a high-density foam covered with a polyuria “hard coat” most often applied as “truck bed liners”. This super robust material is then painted with multiple layers of color shifting paint that dramatically changes color depending on sun angle and time of day.

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At one end of the station, laminated safety glass with blue and mirrored ribbons of topography disguise the emergency ventilation shafts- providing a sense of movement and visual expansion in a compressed space. The mirrored topography also provides a site context and juxtaposition of the urban Cartesian grid playing against the natural land forms.

moving projections animate the space after dark

At night the sculpture conjures the drama of the adjacent theaters, nightclubs and galleries- providing movement, color, pattern and excitement to this previously under-used alley entrance. The patterning of the projections includes interference patterns created by dueling topographic lines, atmospheric nebulae-like patterning and swirling water-influenced movement.

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Check out the video below to see the night moving projections:

 

Special thanks to all of our great project partners:

City of Oakland, Cultural Arts & Marketing Commissioning Agency
BART: Bay Area Rapid Transit (entrance to the 19th Street Oakland Station)
Martin Kaufman
Sasaki Associates landscape architects and design team partners
Heavy Industries fabricator
Atthowe Fine Art Services installation
Swenson Say Faget engineering
Visual Terrain lighting consultant
Jason Gedrose/ MVStaging programming
Greg Linhares additional photography

 

Nepenthes Paisleyi

Edmonton, Alberta Canada

17'h x 4' x5.6'w. Fiberglass, steel, LED's Sensors, GFRC

17’h x 4′ x5.6’w. painted fiberglass, steel, LED’s, sensors, GFRC

 

The name of the pieces are “Nepenthes.” The name is derived from a Greek magical potion that would cause the drinker to be relieved from or induce forgetfulness of pain, grief, or sorrow. I hope these sculptures might provide a brief respite from a hectic daily life, transporting us briefly somewhere else. Paisleyi is the botanic latin version of Paisley, named after the founder of the Edmonton Fringe Festival- and name of the community wherein the sculptures are located.

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Nepenthes is also the name of a family of carnivorous plants. Beautiful, quirky, unusual, weird. The fascinating tropical pitcher plants, or “monkey cups,” collect water in their leaf vases. The plant water has an enzyme in it that helps dissolve insects (and sometimes small animals) that find their way into the cups, providing fertilizer for the plants that normally live in infertile locations. The shapes of the sculptures are inspired by the shape of a variety of Nepenthes and celebrates the wonderful diversity of Paisley’s colourful neighborhood.

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Monochromatic by daytime, this family of sculptures take on a completely different character at night with the addition of dynamic LED programming.

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There are a number of randomly occurring lighting programs that provide very slow changes throughout the evening. It is designed so that people driving by will not see the changes in patterns, yet if they drive by 10 minutes later they will see a different aspect to the project. When people enter the sculpture, integrated sensors pick up the motion and trigger a series of much more animated sequences.

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The molds for these sculptures were originally developed for the Nepenthes Davis Street Project for TRIMET/City of Portland, Oregon. The Regional Arts and Culture Council has kindly provided permission for a re-envisioning of the original project for the Brookfield Residential neighborhood of Paisley in Edmonton. You can see the original project here: Nepenthes

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Special thanks to all of our great project partners:
Brookfield Residential,  Edmonton (funder and site work)
Heavy Industries (fabrication)
PMCS (LED engineering, and programming)

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video of some of the dynamic LED sequences

Azul Healing Garden

MLK Hospital, Los Angeles CA

The Azul Healing Garden at the MLK Hospital in Los Angeles was conceived as a calming central courtyard in a stressful and arid urban environment. The space is anchored by 33 tons of blue glass mulch, plants with blue colored leaves, and twinkling blue lights in the walkway and planting beds. Rather than just using plants that have historically been used to heal, I was interested in creating a space that could help induce calmness and creativity by utilizing the basic tenants chromotherapy and infusing the courtyard with azul.

The Azul Healing Garden at the MLK Hospital in Los Angeles was conceived as a calming central courtyard in a stressful and arid urban environment. The space is anchored by 33 tons of blue glass mulch, plants with blue colored leaves, and twinkling solar blue lights in the walkway and planting beds.
Rather than just using plants that have historically been used to heal, I was interested in creating a space that could help induce calmness and creativity by utilizing the basic tenants chromotherapy and infusing the courtyard with azul.

The color blue is a calming color that has been shown to reduce blood pressure as well as calm breathing and heart-rate. It stimulates the parasympathetic system and has anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing effects. It can be used to assist in relaxation and fights physical and mental tension.  A blue environment has been demonstrated to make us more responsive to new ideas and increase creativity.  When people relax, they become more open to new ideas and can develop creative solutions to problems.

The color blue is a calming color that has been shown to reduce blood pressure as well as calm breathing and heart-rate. It stimulates the parasympathetic system and has anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing effects. It can be used to assist in relaxation and fights physical and mental tension. A blue environment has been demonstrated to make us more responsive to new ideas and increase creativity. When people relax, they become more open to new ideas and can develop creative solutions to problems.

The tall plant on the right is the Dragon Blood Tree.  When the bark or leaves are cut they secrete a reddish resin called "Dragon's Blood" that is used to stain the wood of the Stradivarius violins.  It also has a number of traditional medical uses and was used by the alchemists.

The tall plant on the right is the Dragon Blood Tree. When the bark or leaves are cut they secrete a reddish resin called “Dragon’s Blood” that is used to stain the wood of the Stradivarius violins. It also has a number of traditional medical uses and was used by the alchemists.

All of the plant material in the garden has "blue" or blue-gray colored leaves.

All of the plant material in the garden has “blue” or blue-gray colored leaves.

Historic uses of Chromotherapy – Colour Therapy dates back thousands of years and to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and India. Each color has a distinguishing wavelength and energy. The energy of each of the seven spectrum colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) corresponds with the seven energy centers or chakras of the body. Color therapy can provide balance among all of the energies in our bodies. Color can help humans on a physical, psychological and spiritual level. Historically, the ancient Egyptians built solarium rooms with various colors of glass and other cultures used silks of different colors to bath their bodies in various shades of light. The ancient Egyptian temple of Heliopolis had a quartz crystal in the dome that split sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum each of which filled a healing chamber. Each chamber was a place for people to receive color healing and contained herbs and colored materials. In his text “The Canon of Medicine,” Acivenna wrote about the relation of color to physical conditions of the body and viewed blue as a blood cooler. In the states, in 1876 Augustus Pleasconton wrote, “The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Color of the Sky,” in which he discusses the positive influence blue can have in crop growth, livestock and human health. A few years later, in 1878, chromotherapy, the use of stained class and colored lights for healing, is suggested for the healing of burns, nervous excitability and cold in the extremities by Dr. Edwin D. Babbitt. Today, color is still used for healing. Natural therapists are using chromotherapy and successes have been reported in the recovery of stroke victims and other patients with chronic depression.

Historic uses of Chromotherapy 
Colour Therapy dates back thousands of years and to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and India. Each color has a distinguishing wavelength and energy. The energy of each of the seven spectrum colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) corresponds with the seven energy centers or chakras of the body. Color therapy can provide balance among all of the energies in our bodies. Color can help humans on a physical, psychological and spiritual level.
Historically, the ancient Egyptians built solarium rooms with various colors of glass and other cultures used silks of different colors to bath their bodies in various shades of light. The ancient Egyptian temple of Heliopolis had a quartz crystal in the dome that split sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum each of which filled a healing chamber. Each chamber was a place for people to receive color healing and contained herbs and colored materials. In his text “The Canon of Medicine,” Acivenna wrote about the relation of color to physical conditions of the body and viewed blue as a blood cooler. In the states, in 1876 Augustus Pleasconton wrote, “The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Color of the Sky,” in which he discusses the positive influence blue can have in crop growth, livestock and human health. A few years later, in 1878, chromotherapy, the use of stained class and colored lights for healing, is suggested for the healing of burns, nervous excitability and cold in the extremities by Dr. Edwin D. Babbitt. Today, color is still used for healing. Natural therapists are using chromotherapy and successes have been reported in the recovery of stroke victims and other patients with chronic depression.


The color BLUE is a calming color that has been shown to reduce blood pressure as well as calm both breathing and heart-rate. It stimulates the parasympathetic system and has anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing effects. It is linked to the throat and thyroid gland. It can be used to assist in relaxation and fights both physical and mental tension. Blue can also make us more responsive to new ideas and increase creativity. A study at the University of British Columbia, in which participants conducted various tasks on a computer screen with red or blue backgrounds, concluded that blue encourages motivation, “people relax, becoming more open to new ideas and creative solutions to problems.” Blue can also increase confidence and make people feel happier. General exposure to color is beneficial as well. In a study at the Mind Lab, “subjects exposed to colours completed mental tests up to 25 per cent quicker. Reaction times were up to 12 per cent faster, while hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to recall a list of words were also found to be improved.” Color affects the body, brain activity and biorhythms and as a result is being used in the treatment of diseases. In Ayurvedic medicine, blue is identified with the fifth chakra, it is located in the throat and associated with the throat, ears, mouth and hands. Its alleged function is physical and spiritual communication. 
 
Positive Effects of the Color Blue-
-Blue is used in offices because people are more productive and focused in blue rooms
-Blue can lower the pulse rate and body temperature
-Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness and serenity, it is peaceful, tranquil, secure and orderly
-Historically blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain
-It has a cooling and soothing effect
-Blue has positive physiological effects including lower blood pressure, and reducing tension
-Deep blue has proven to help the skeletal structure by keeping bone marrow healthy and it stimulates the pituitary gland that regulates sleep patterns.
 
 
FURTHER READING-
“Color has a powerful effect on behavior, reseachers assert” Lindsey Gruson, The New York Times Science Section, Oct. 19, 1982. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/19/science/color-has-a-powerful-effect-on-behavior-researchers-assert.html?&pagewanted=all
This article looks at a study on behaviors of people, particularly children in different colored spaces and looks at how color can influence behavior and work methods. Blue and gray spaces have a tendency to increase focus and productivity.“A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution” Samina T. Yousuf Azeemi and S. Mohsin Raza Department of Physics, University of Balochisan, Quetta, Pakistan, Sept 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1297510/
This paper analyzes the historic practices and scientific principles of chromotherapy and looks at the relationship between the human body and colors.
“A mammalian clock protein responds directly to light” Josh Hill, July 2, 2008. “Think Gene” Blog. http://www.thinkgene.com/a-mammalian-clock-protein-responds-directly-to-light/
This paper by Nathalie Hoang et al. examines cryptochromes in flies, humans and mice. In plants, cryptochromes absorb and process blue light and aid in growth and seed development. The exposure to blue light also reduces flavin pigments and this reduction promotes growth by activating the cryptochromes. In humans the crypotchromes are present and regulate the circadian clock, Hoang found that flavins decrease in humans in response to blue light too.
“Blue Light makes you happy” Jon Swaine, January, 6, 2009. The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/4139796/Blue-light-makes-you-happy.html
A study conducted by The Mind Lab finds that exposure to light is generally beneficial and certain colors, including blue improve mood and confidence levels in men and women.
Naess, Inger. Colour Energy. 2004.http://www.natures-energies.com/color1.htm
Hamilton, Jon. “NPR Stories.” 6 February 2009. NPR. 9 December 2011 .
Swaine, Jon. “Blue light ‘makes you happy’.” The Telegraph 6 January 2009: 20. 

 

Special thanks to the project team LA County Arts Commission MLK Renovation team, County of Los Angeles RBB Architects Inc AHBE Landscape Architects Hensel Phelps, (GC) and associated subcontractors

Special thanks to the project team
LA County Arts Commission
MLK Renovation team, County of Los Angeles
RBB Architects Inc
AHBE Landscape Architects
Hensel Phelps, (GC) and associated subcontractors