ILLUMINATE SF

LIGHTSWARM

Future Cities Lab (2014)
Installed: October 24, 2014 - October 31, 2016
Yerba Buena: 701 Mission Street, YBCA Grand Lobby

Lightswarm activated the south-facing glass facade of the Grand Lobby of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) with playful patterns of light, reminiscent of a swarm of flying birds, in response to sounds harvested from the museum's interior space, Yerba Buena Garden and city street noise. This stunning wall installation of 430 individual modules was created from 3D printed components, custom electronic elements, addressable LED strips, and laser-cut skins made out of recyclable PET plastic and synthetic paper to create a dazzling lightshow in a state of perpetual flux. During the day, filtered sunlight produced ever-changing flickers of light and shadow. In the evening, the facade transformed into a dynamic electro-luminiscent composition that electrified the glass wall. Sound-sensing spiders collected real-time data that drove the direction and color of the swarming algorithm, which generated patterns of streaming light. The result was an artificially intelligent smart surface that could sense, compute, respond and interact with its surroundings.

Artists: Future Cities Lab is an experimental design studio, workshop and architectural think tank operating globally out of San Francisco, California. Founding principals Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno have collaborated on a range of award-winning projects exploring the intersections of art and design with advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems and public space. Lightswarm and Murmur Wall  were created with associate design partner Ripon DeLeon and production team including Fernando Amenedo, Jeffrey Maeshiro, Ji Ahn, Nainoa Cravalho and Kate Richter, with fabrication by Machinic Digital Prototyping & Consulting Services.