Derek Gaw ~ PWRFL @ MakerLabs
April 4, 2017
Interactive Fund Recipient 2017

Project Name: Lightwork

Lightwork is a physically interactive public art installation consisting of organic, human scale forms comprised of addressable LEDs. Participants’ motion through the space interact directly with generative light patterns across the light forms. LEDs are suspended using theatrical scrim, combined with low ambient lighting to create the illusion of points of light floating in space. The design projects a dream like state, encouraging playful interaction with the space and other participants.

Part of Lightwork’s goal is educational. They will host guided workshops to teach artists and programmers the Lightwork software system, providing an opportunity to write algorithms to be displayed directly on the installation. Participants can create their own LED control and interaction programs that run on almost any device or computer, and even over the web.

PWRFL is building the software for the installation as an open source software framework. The main goal of the software is to simplify the configuration and arrangement of any number of LEDs. Current solutions are limited to linear strips or rectangular grids of LEDs. By utilizing computer vision algorithms, PWRFL can use images of the LED setup from two or more vantage points to determine their location in 3d space. This allows artists to adapt their work dynamically to overcome environmental challenges when installing their work, and to create layouts not currently feasible with existing tools. As an open source framework, this tool will benefit BC artists and the global interactive community in the creation of a new works, where it will continue to grow and evolve as more contributors and users get involved online.

MakerLabs, being a makerspace, provides a shared infrastructure that drastically reduces the cost of product prototyping and development. Lightwork will create one full-time role and require the use of up to three contract developers and/or fabricators to fulfill the various requirements of the project.

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