Our initial interactive sketch above was part of our commissioned proposal for Lightweave. The goal was to integrate sound responsive lights into the structural framing of a series of arches.
The brief called for a light based artwork to span two new pedestrian walkways in Downtown Doral. The span of each walkway is 130 feet and the given the likelihood of strong winds in Florida during hurricane season, we started with an open frame structure of ascending archways. We joined every other archway column so that the structure can act as one and allow for continuous cable runs for the interactive elopements. This also shifted the orientation of each threshold framed by singular archways and enhanced the forced perspective of the ascending peaks. It produced a horizontal zig-zagging structure that would give the feeling the integrated lighting was “bouncing” between each archway. As light “bounces” of the structure it would activate tones in ten channel speaker array along placed along the structure. To give the set of archways more spatial volume we wove color through the structural elements using powder coated aluminum tubes tensioned on stainless steel cables.
The archways are made of structural stainless steel channels that are custom cut and bent. The channels are connected using custom cut brackets that register the angle of each arch. The LED assembly is also made of custom stainless steel parts that are inserted into the open face of each channel. This assembly includes an acrylic diffuser that can be removed for maintenance. We had a number of full scale mock-ups made so that all of the structural elements and LED assemblies arrived on site precut and the structure was erected without any welding or onsite modifications.
Each archway has a bracket to mount for a speaker where the column meets the archway. This gives each structure an array of multi channel sound. When the light from the programmed LEDs hits one of these speaker nodes it plays a tone that then cascades with a slight delay through the other speakers based on distance. This gives the tones a spatial quality similar to an exaggerated doppler effect. There is an ambient composition that plays in tandem with subtle light waves that travel through the base of the columns.
The sound and light are controlled through a combination of TouchDesigner and Ableton Live. A set of microphones integrated into the structure picks up environmental sound which triggers the light and sound. The sound in from the microphones is analyzed to remove the tones generated by the speakers so that the generative sound does not produce a feedback loop.