Our fourth Electric Sky was a swimming success, and we can’t thank everyone enough for all their great participation in making this special event happen! Be sure to check out our slides from 2018 to get a sense for what it was like.
Each year, we orient our collaborative projects around a theme. This year, that theme is “The Digital Frontier”, celebrating the pioneering spirit of those who push the bounds of possibility by innovating on the frontier of technology.
Our basic framework is to provide an overarching design theme “Explore recurring historical themes of human progress on the frontiers of innovation, layering the past with the future”, and then recruit artists, technologists, scientists, and designers to take on aspects of that theme, playing with technologically-infused, sensing, interactive and self-illuminated sculptural elements.
As a central orienting piece for the larger group collaboration, we will create three to-scale facades of historic frontier buildings similar to those in the town of Skyomish, with a boardwalk animated by controllable LEDS and the facade surfaces animated with projected videos of life-sized “ghosts” of pioneering figures. The goal is to create the experience of walking on the boardwalk with these historical figures in a “digital frontier” – where the audience participant becomes a part of the community of innovators along the walk. Please see concept design.
In the past two years our group projects focused on leveraging technology as a creative medium to create life-like interactivity embedded in nature. In brainstorming for 2018, we decided to engage more with the history of Skykomish as a frontier town, and turn our attention to the transformative impact humans have on nature as they expand new frontiers through technology. We seek to layer new creative technologies for innovation such as controllable LEDs, laser cutters, and projection mapping, over turn of the century technologies such as trains and telegraphs, to evoke an awareness and interest in the recurring historical themes of human progress on the frontier. We further seek to celebrate the intrepid spirit of pioneers who have created new territories for exploration and human progress in the Pacific Northwest over the past century, and will continue to do so in years to come.
[crossposted on recreationallightandmagic.com] Our Luminous Garden project was so popular this summer we adapted the group installation to be an indoor show, displayed the winter of 2016/2017 at the Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar, and in the Skykomish Maloney Store. The theme was “taking a walk in an otherworldly garden”. At the Maloney Store, we had a pop-up maker lab in the back of the show, so we could continually add new pieces to the show over the course of the month.
Andy Tomacelli :: Beanne Hull :: Bee Wilkerson :: Ben Flaster :: Betsy Morris :: Brad Traynoff :: Bryan Ressler :: Chis D’Annunzio :: David Hull :: Greg Larson :: Jeff Larson :: Josh Lind :: Lea Willingham :: Marz :: Nicole Kistler :: Sarah Lavin :: Shelly Farnham
This show is an evolving, large-scale collaborative installation that originally emerged from Electric Sky 2016.
We were very excited to be able to bring the Luminous Garden for a one month show back to the town of Skykomish in the historic Maloney Store. It was a great way to engage with the locals who weren’t able to check it out this summer or while it was in Seattle. We even had the local school students visit for an impromptu workshop.
Thanks very much to the town of Skykomish for letting us have the show in the Maloney Store!
The Luminous Garden, originally created for Electric Sky, went on the road this summer, with appearances at Lusio in Volunteer Park and at Arts-a-Glow at Burien. Since Electric Sky is a smaller event (more of an artists’ retreat and exhibition for locals in the Sky Valley), this was a great opportunity to share the experience with a much broader audience. Thousands of people have now walked through our otherworldly garden, and by all appearances it has been very well received! Thanks to the producers of Lusio and Arts-a-Glow for the opportunity to share this work.
Flower of Power at Arts-a-Glow
Sensor Mote Swarm at Arts-a-Glow
You will also find the garden at a winter, indoor installation at the Vermillion, an art gallery and bar in Capitol Hill, in Seattle. Keep your eyes open for posts about that event in December.
Note from Shelly Farnham, our event producer, to event attendees in the Facebook on June 20:
FANTASTIC everyone I cannot thank you all enough. Despite the rain I left the event feeling it really couldn’t have gone better. I think, while the rain scared a few folks off, for those who stayed we probably were even more focused on our projects. The garden looked sooo beautiful! And the interpretive signs had just the right touch of humor. Thanks so much to everyone for really pulling it together!
We are excited to announce that Jeremy Kayes will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, from 1-2pm. Jeremy is both a web developer and a cartoonist, and has taught cartooning to designers and developers as a tool for story boarding their projects. Come to the workshop and learn how cartooning can improve your life!
Workshop: Cartooning Crash Course, 1pm-2pm. Hosted by Jeremy Kayes. A little bit of drawing skill can go a long way, no matter what you’re working on. If you can’t draw or can only draw stick figures, this workshop will ramp up your skill and confidence for getting your ideas down on paper.
Jeremy Kayes is the author of the graphic novel ‘The Indies’ and host of the comic artist club ‘Sicaga.’ He makes a living developing software and teaching engineers and researchers at UW how to use comics to illustrate their research. Learn more at http://jeremykayes.com. Registration is not required.
We are very excited to show off a list of projects already in the works, many of them recipients of our Luminous Garden microgrant program! If you are interested in collaborating on any of the projects below, please sign up for the discussion on our Facebook group or reach out to any of the artists below. If you have your own project you want listed here, please contact shelly <at> totallylegitllc <dot> com.
About the Artists/Technologists
Sunflower of Symmetry with Bryan Ressler
Sunflower of Symmetry will be a single large sunflower wherein the middle (seed) area of the sunflower is comprised of a 1-foot circular disc of surface-mounted LEDs behind a diffuser, surrounded by handmade LDPE flower petals. The flower will be held up by a stalk from a weighted base. A hidden computer will project symmetric animations onto the sunflower that respond (either by sound or proximity) to the presence of a viewer.
About Bryan: I am an electronic artist and musician. I concentrate on art pieces that make use of computer-controlled LEDs to challenge viewer’s concepts of light, shadow, motion, and the viewer’s integral, interactive role in the artistic process. Learn more at ttp://www.anthrolume.com Collaborate! I could use some help sourcing parts for the diffuser material, the stalk that holds up the flower, and a weighted base. You can get in touch with Bryan at bressler <at> pallium <dot> com.
Lighter than Air with Briar Bates
A night time swing that emits layers of colored light.
About Briar: Most of my art uses nature in its composition. It is an exciting challenge to work technology in to my pieces. Learn more at http://briarbates.com/ Collaborate! Seeking someone who might want to get teckie on me. help me think of something I haven’t come up with because I didn’t know such things were possible. You can get in touch with Briar at BriarBates <at> gmail <dot> com.
Interactive Beanstalk Joel Walters
Imagine tree bongo drums around a green cylindrical fabric “beanstalk” that grows when the drums are struck rapidly, and shrinks over the period of several seconds when interaction ceases.
About Joel: Joel works on websites by day, but also has a strong passion for tinkering with electronics. Give him some tools, a weekend, and a project, and he will run with it to the finish line. Learn more at http://joelwalters.com/about/ Collaborate! Seeking people with lighting experience, or working with outdoor fabrics. You can get in touch with Joel firstname.lastname@example.org jtwalters <at> gmail <dot> com
Bee Wilkerson Solar Sunflower
A 500 watt solar generator in the form of a flower with actuated petals.
About Bee: More Engineer than artist. More geek than girl. I love the future! Learn more at http://littlebee.github.io/solar-sunflower/ Collaborate! We’ll take everyone and find some way to make use of you! We could really use people with the following skills: welding, rigging, mechanical engineering, Arduino programming – light and display mode and pixel LED animation, wood or metal working skills to build utility / battery & electronics housing. email@example.com Contact Bee at bee.wilkerson <at> ymail <dot> com
Thunderhead Nicole Kistler and Catherine Grisez
Thunderhead is an artificial cloud made of recycled plastic bottles that hangs overhead, a thunder and lighting-like episode is created within the cloud using led lights and tiny speakers.
About Nicole and Catherine: Nicole is a public artist and storyteller who works in a wide-variety of media from lighting to cast iron. Catherine is a fine metals artist and jeweler who sometimes gets a wild hair and builds a community-driven public art piece. Learn more at www.nicolekistler.com, catherinegrisez.com Collaborate! Seeking someone that could help us sequence the led lights, and put the speakers on a timer would be great. Contact Nicole at nk <at> nicolekistler <dot> com
Anemone Tentacle David Hull
A Sea Anemone is a fascinating and beautiful creature. The way they frequent tidal pools, beaches and docks makes them seem more like a plant than an animal, but they create delight and surprise when they shy away from the curious touch of a human observer. Thisinteractive kinetic sculpture emulates the arms of sea Anemone, with large sculptural “tentacles” that react to the proximity of a viewer by curling/contracting and changing color. This project will be constructed of thin flexible steel armatures, a translucent “skin” material, motors, LED lights, and electronic sensors.
About Dave: David grew up in Seattle, received his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Western Washington University (WWU) and his MFA degree in designed objects from the school of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). His portfolio of work includes a variety of consumer products, sculptural experiments that explore methods of construction, and interactive electronic art. Learn more at http://Davidhulldesign.comCollaborate! Seeking fabrication assistance and/or some help with coding Arduino Microcontrollers to achieve the best interaction with the object(s). Contact Dave at davidhulldesign <at> gmail <dot> com
Popup Arcade Seth Vincent, Luke Swart, and Christina Montilla
Hidden throughout a garden are small, strange terminals. They’re making noise and lights are flashing. They seem to respond to your movement. They have buttons and if you press them strange things happen. There’s text on the screen. Is someone on the other side of this thing?
Twilights Beanne HullSconces with painted shades that change when the light is turned on.
About Beanne: Beanne is a designer, teacher, artist and co-ordinator of art classes and group projects. Learn more at http://beannehull.com/ Collaborate! Seeking new ways to combine low tech light diffusers (lamp shades!) with new technologies and energy efficient light sources. Contact Beanne at beannehull <at> gmail <dot> com
The Sensor Mote Swarm with Shelly Farnham
A swarm of geometric, alien critters (“motes”) will respond in lighting and sound to your presence. The swarm will have coordinated animation using bluetooth comunication between the swarm motes and a central microprocessor.
About Shelly: Shelly is an artist and a technologist with a passion for interactive lighting and large scale collaborations. Learn more at http://shellydianefarnham.com/ Collaborate! Seeking help brainstorming design of the motes, printing out mote design using 2D cutter, assembling the motes, some soldering. You can get in touch with Shelly at shelly <at> totallylegitllc <dot> com.
Pixel River Rocks Ben Flaster
River rocks as LED pixels will provide a visual plot of the current intensity of the river. The concept is multiple instances of a circuit, each instance being a mill wheel driving a motor. This motor will generate a voltage that, based on the speed of the wheel and size of the voltage, will cause an LED to illuminate in a specific color from blue to green to white. This project was conceived at last years’ Electric Sky when people were playing in the river.
About Ben: en is trained as a mechanical engineer, with a passion for sculptural installations both large and small, and is currently a member of several collaborative art groups including the Iron Monkeys and Recreational Light and Magic, a Totally Legit LLC. After spending a decade in automotive LED lighting he is looking to apply his skill sets to make technically creative LED lamps. Learn more at www.ironmonkeyarts.org, recreationallightandmagic.com Collaborate! Seeking help with Cast molding, acrylics, waterproofing. . You can get in touch with Ben at flastron <at> gmail <dot> com
Bamboo Lanterns Lea Willingham
Inspired by a fictional, Asian, post apocalyptic world, combined with the the lighting used at the traditional Japanese bamboo festival, this project is is comprised of numerous uniquely designed and implemented, battery powered, LED lit lanterns. The lighting will be somewhat functional but the intention is aesthetic.
About Lea: While photography is Lea’s main creative medium, she has a number of artistic outlets throughout her life; from drawing, writing, and photography to creating beautiful and functional artworks with metal. One of the driving forces behind her work is the desire to create items that have a useful minimalistic quality as well as pieces that have a timeless content. Collaborate! Seeking new design ideas, woodworking experience, anyone interested in LEDs. You can get in touch with Lea at masqueeste <at> gmail <dot> com
Kids are Such Pests Carey Christie, Wilder Christie, Jeff Larson, and Workshop PestsEver notice how adults are always telling kids to “go away,” or “be quiet”? When you’re a kid, you just can’t help bugging everyone around you. Maybe because it’s fun!!! So, while the grown ups are building an art garden with light-up technology, we kids are going to create a bunch of garden pests that have never even existed before! Simple technologies like tiny recorders and LED lights in sculptures and costumes will be used to make the most fantastic kinds of insects you can possibly imagine.
About Carey Christie & crew: Carey Christie is a creative community catalyst, having spent the past thirteen years in Seattle building culture and community through event and film production, organizational consulting, volunteer management, and mentoring. Jeffrey Larson is a Seattle-based designer, illustrator, and artist. He received a BFA in design from Michigan State University before transplanting to the Northwest. See http://slowercase.com. He is also the lead artist/designer for the Luminous Garden design framework. Collaborate! Seeking kids and adults who think like kids to join us in our pest making fun. You can get in touch with Carey Christie firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luminous Garden Design Framework Jeff Larson, Shelly Farnham, and their Recreational Light and Magic crew
Jeff, Shelly, and their Totally Legit art group are providing the basic design framework, infrastructure, and lighting (including the basic narrative, the path layout, the entry gate, and the interpretive placards), and then recruiting other individuals or art groups to take on specific aspects of the installation. Their unique interactive technology contribution is the construction of the entry gate — a Portal — with responsive lighting and sound that fluctuate to indicate the entry and exit of participants, and the number of people who are inside the garden.
About Jeff, Shelly, and the crew: Jeffrey Larson is a Seattle-based designer, illustrator, and artist. He received a BFA in design from Michigan State University before transplanting to the Northwest. He is the lead artist/designer for the Luminous Garden design framework. Shelly Farnham is an artist, technologist, and community organizer with a pronounce passion for interactive lighting in art. She is the creative director for the luminous garden. Their art group, Recreational Light and Magic, a Totally Legit LLC, are an interdisciplinary group of artists, technologists, designers, and builders who share a passion for art, technology, and culture. Learn more at http://slowercase.com, http://shellydianefarnham.com; http://RecreationalLightandMagic.com. Collaborate! Seeking people to help create the portal, the interpretive signs, and the garden path. You can get in touch with Jeff at nasacar <at> gmail <dot> com, and shelly <at> totallylegitllc <dot> com