Sunday, October 17, 2010

LIGHT DRIFT! Tonight Only!


There I am looking cool and mysterious.  Last night, Marianne and I went down to the Schuylkill River, between Chestnut and Market to look at Light Drift, a three-night art installation.  Tonight is the last day, so if you want to see it, you'll have to hurry.

Here's the official explanation, taken from a post card somebody was kind enough to hand me:

LIGHT DRIFT is an interactive lighting installation which creates a field of reponsive and occupiable lighting elements along the edge of the Schuylkill River.

The lighting elements are shaped like orbs and are equipped with electronics that allow them to repond to the public and communicate with each other.  The orbs on land use sensors to detect the presence of a erson and relay a radio signal to the corresponding orbs in the water, allowing visitors to create and choreograph patterns of light in the river.  As viewers engage the orbs, the grid of lights in the water becomes an index of thea ctivities on land.  Light Drift brings people together through their interaction with the orbs, creating new connections along the river's edge.

The work is credited to My Studio / Howeler + Yoon Architecture.  You can find their website here, but you'll have to browse through a lot of different projects to find Light Drift.   And you can find an article about the installation here.

It's free, it goes from dusk to dawn, and come morning they'll take it all away.

When Marianne and I were there last night, the adults stared into the river, trying to gigure out the patterns of shifting light.  The children ran from chair-pod to chair-pod.  Little kids, it turns out, love to sit on things that light up.

Below:  Some more photos of the event, taken by M. C. Porter.  The last shot is of a backup pod being carried to a waiting kayak to replace a light which (as you may notice in the first photo) burned out.



Jef Powers said...

Sitting on things that light up - excellent! Wish I was closer and could see it for myself. You also appear to enjoy sitting on big lights. By the way, thank you for everything you've ever written. For many years you have provided joy, laughter, head nodding, and discovery. Please, keep it up.

Michael Swanwick said...

In my own defense, I waited for the rare moment when there was a light-pod-chair empty and no child was headed for it. Then, after the picture was taken, I stood up and a whooping child descended upon it.

I thank you for your kind words. I'm beginning to understand George Bernard Shaw's words, when he said that at age 90 he'd just managed to master the basics and only needed another century to do something with them. I'm just now beginning to feel I know how to write, and the ideas are thronging up within me. I only hope I choose wisely in the next several decades left to me.