Photonic modulation of light and space

In cooperation with TU/e and Van Abbemuseum, Glow Eindhoven 2016
TU/e campus, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Press kit

The project started as an idea of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), both celebrating their anniversary in 2016. For the yearly lighting festival Glow Eindhoven the two organizations decided to join the forces in an installation that merges the powers of technology and art.

A visual impression of the “Photonic modulation of light and space” installation, part of the Glow festival 2016. The Glow festival is a prominent yearly outdoor lighting event, featuring works of 40+ artists and designers. Its 2015 edition attracted over 700 000 visitors in one week.

The theme of combining art and technology comes back prominently in the works of one of the most influent avant-garde artist of the XX century, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1946). Born in Austria-Hungary, Moholy-Nagy was one of the first artists that started to experiment with technology. His ideas got expressed in “Licht-Raum Modulator”, a kinetic sculpture with geometric forms of metal and glass attached to a turning platform. The forms of the sculpture reflect the colored light shining on them. As a result, this abstract work modulates (changes) the room in which it is exposed, creating spectacular colored shadows and reflections on the walls and ceiling. The artist plays with light and motion to modulate space and time.

Licht-Raum Modulator (1922-1930) replica 1970, image courtesy of Van Abbemuseum

For the Glow 2016 festival, the TU/e and Van Abbemuseum wanted to reconstruct the effect that the sculpture creates in a closed space of a museum room in an outdoor location. But how can you simulate the complex interactions between the original work of Moholy-Nagy and the lights without having the room surface the shadows and reflections can be casted upon? This is where the intelligent Ambianti technology comes in place.

Especially for the project, a custom, translucent RGB version of the Ambianti tiles is developed. In addition to other modifications, the tiles are designed fully waterproof (IP67-compliant), adhering to the wet weather conditions typical for the late fall in the Netherlands.

Especially for this project, Ambianti developed a custom version of Ambianti Tiles, T2 Glow, containing 200 double-sided full-color RGB LEDs each, fully encapsulated in a crystal-clear polymer compound. 100 Ambianti T2 Glow tiles comprise a massive translucent intelligent lighting cube. To reciprocate the movements of the Moholy-Nagy’s sculpture, located kilometers away at the Van Abbemuseum exhibition, on the cube’s walls, the total of 20 000 LEDs are directed algorithmically by the new version of Ambianti’s distributed operating system, TileOS. The Tiles then independently recognize each other’s position and shape, communicating and adjusting their status to extrapolate the movements and the lighting patterns of the original sculpture and transfer them onto the cube’s walls.

The installation delivers a fascinating experience to the observer, building upon the original Moholy-Nagy’s focus on combination between technology and art using the advancements of the XXI century, such as solid-state lighting and distributed computing. The visual appearance of the tiles as well as the cube’s supportive steel frame and rotating podium have also been specially designed by Ambianti to respect the Bauhaus’ school traditions and amplify the airy, austere and sharp impressions of the original work.

Tile Specs

Installation size 100 Ambianti “T2 Glow” Tiles
Number of LED sources 20 000
Waterproof rating IP67-compliant
Chromaticity coordinates fullcolor RGB
Additional functionality 3D motion sensing, infrared

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