This is one of North Americas few ‘zero energy’ fully solar powered public art installations – existing in a very rainy part of the world.
Entitled ‘Lightmodal’ this lighting installation responds to the chorus of unnoticeable activity occurring at a significant entry point into the City of Surrey, Canada, where several modes of transportation converge. Inspired by natural light phenomena, e. g. Aurora Borealis and bioluminescence, it generates elaborate lighting patterns in response to the activity in the immediate area of the installation. This piece is intended to be an urban version of these naturally occurring light phenomena, based on civic infrastructure and attempting to create a sense of the wilderness within the city.
This was a group effort between myself, my partner in Urbanvisuals, Nathan Whitford, and Organelle Design (Alex & Courtney, the instigators for the project) who brought their great physical problem solving and drawing skills to the equation. We had a very interesting time doing this collaborative piece; it was both a challenge and a pleasure to work with the Sky Train engineering team (MMM Design) and the City of Surrey public art department.
As one nears the installation, the individual fixtures become more noticeable and their specific light patterns become more apparent and eye catching. The visible patterns of illumination are the result of changes picked up by the sensing systems of each fixture. Each fixture contains 100 individual lights (nodes) and has three independent sensors (proximity, vibration, sound) that react to what is happening in the immediate environment of the light fixture.
Each type of sensor is assigned a predetermined colour and these separate colours mix together in additive fashion to create the final light patterns that appear on the nodes of each fixture (andconsequently across the entire artwork). If the sensors do not pick up any activity, the fixtures will display a preprogrammed less bright animating pattern; during daylight hours all the fixtures will switch off and operate in charging mode, using solar panel technology.