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primordial soup

Raspberry Pi, LED strip lights, Unity

This project explores the form of light installation and data visualization as mediums to tell a story of human connection. Crowdsourcing and visualizing data allows for the transformation and anonymization of personal stories into abstract points portrayed relative to the thousands of other data points generated by thousands of others friends, family members, acquaintances, and strangers. In a world with increased connectivity and accessibility that has commodified our most private experiences, we have drifted farther than ever from each other. Some might argue that we have forgotten what it means to be human and that we have become so pre-occupied with tearing each other apart that we have forgotten to listen to not only others, but ourselves as well.

I physically created a starry night sky through cutting and soldering over 900 LED lights controlled by a Raspberry Pi and then arranging them so that they protruded from the wall to form a topography of light. Users would play a small game I created using Unity that took them through procedurally generated alien worlds as they searched for their idea of “home.” The installation took inspiration from both video game No Man’s Sky as well as The Little Prince. When they completed the game, their choices would be visualized via an animated sequence as well as a color and location along the LED wall. In a time that feels increasingly fractured and polemic, I wanted people to find comfort and similarity between each other. Sometimes, that means abstracting most of their (perhaps superficial) differences away.

My body of work is two-fold. First the microscopic: a probing investigation into the inner desires and fears of each person. Second, the macroscopic: a large light-installation that will transform and project each experience relative to all of the others in real-time, so that each time a new experience is added all of the others must readjust and re-configure. I’ve chosen the form of light for all of the metaphors that it represents: illumination, enlightenment, and truth. It is the most poignant form of communication in its color, radiance, and warmth.

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