“Light and Art at Winterlude” with Ottawa’s Andrew O’Malley 31/1/13

In his upcoming Winterlude art installation, artist, and engineer Andrew O’Malley will allow festival crowds choose a light, and his installation’s gonna let it shine.

For the installation, O’Malley will crowd together 12 cones of varying sizes – he called it a forest – that will be lit up by colourful LED lights. They’ll range from 6 feet tall, to 15 feet tall, and attendees will be able to scan the cones with their smartphones, and influence their colour.

He has yet to decide exactly what colours will be, but O’Malley said:

“I’m gonna create a pallet of nine colours that people can choose. In doing that, I’m playing with the lights, and I’m looking at how the cones light up. I can have cold, icy colours, ’cause its winter, or I can go with a really warm pallet,” said O’Malley. It’ll depend on the mood he wants to create.

“For the actual interaction, the newest colour selected on the phone will be displayed on the three tallest cones, while the previous colours will be distributed around the remaining cones; and every once in a while, one lucky user will be treated to a surprise,” said O’Malley.

The installation is supposed to show how people, especially a crowd, can influence the world through the powerful computers that we call “smartphones”.

“Because it can be accessed simultaneously by anyone with a smart phone, there will also be group play, and dynamics involved with the piece, as people either fight to control it or work together to try and collaborate on a colour scheme,” he said.

A lot of O’Malley’s work deals with the idea that the the natural variation in the environment can be represented in surprising, and interesting ways through technology. And when you start with something as surprising, and interesting as a crowd, who knows where the technology will take you.

Andrew O'Malley

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