Ascendant Grove at Portland Winter Lights Festival

February 2019 | Portland, OR

I developed this interactive, audio-responsive installation for the Portland Winter Arts Festival, installed it and had it running for three cold winter nights.  Lots of great interaction from the crowds, once they figured out they could make it do things with their voices, clapping, stamping and other noises.

Six glowing, translucent spires are clustered in a grove, covered with patterns and motion.  The imagery is stylistically organic, derived from photography and videography, but altered and distorted in real time, into an abstract flow of light. When left alone, with little ambient sound, colors on the spires are subdued, motion is slow and in a general downward direction.  As people move closer, the sounds that they make give energy to the spires.  The imagery becomes more colorful and, at rising states of sound and activity (conversation, laughter, screams, claps, etc.) the motion of each spires reverses and becomes an ascending fountain of light.  The more sound, the faster and brighter the motion.

This piece is driven entirely by a single project in VDMX, and is mapped onto the spires using MadMapper.  It is powered by one Macbook Pro and uses one projector.  I wanted it to mostly respond to audience sounds, but was concerned that it would spend too much time idling if people just looked on silently, so I made it generate some soundscapes periodically.  I ended up tweaking that over the time of the festival, and eventually made it just let out the occasionally sound burst, as a way to demonstrate responses to varying frequencies and levels.