Imagine a 24-foot wall of light

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 in work in progress

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Now imagine you could control it just by waving your hand. Or swishing a paint brush and singing into a microphone.

That’s what under development now at the ideaXfactory — a 24′ x 10′ wall of neon and LED lighting activated by these inputs. Inside the ideaXfacotry art space, artist Russ RuBert is constructing an aluminum frame and suspension system that will support an interactive sculpture of bright-colored neon and LED lighting.

RuBert is creating circuit boards with red and blue gumdrop-shaped modules that respond to small movements. The modules are activated by infrared sensors that sense body heat and can be lit individually or in sequence. When the installation is complete, the circuit board will be connected to segments of neon and LED installed on the wall.

Layered upon the section controlled by the circuit boards will be another section of lighting that is controlled by a low-voltage current, conducted through a small copper element hidden inside the bristles of a paint brush. When the paintbrush is wet with watercolors, it will control the second layer of lighting. The third layer will be controlled by a microphone, wired to read five octaves of sound.

Visitors will be able to activate any one of these input devices, but it will require three people to achieve the full effect of the Harmonic Wall.

The interactive nature of this installation is reminiscent of RuBert’s motivation to create large-scale art that is accessible to people of all ages. The Kinetic Man is another RuBert creation. Also known as K-Man, the 23-foot aluminum retro-robot-style sculpture in Jordan Valley Park across from Hammons Baseball Field can controlled by a series of mechanical gears that make his arms, legs, and head move.

The Harmonic Wall and Transient Constructions exhibition is scheduled to open on April 5th. The ideaXfactory will also host a preview reception for the Missouri Art Educators Assocition which expects over 300 art educators from around the state of Missouri to be in town for their 2013 Spring Conference at the end of March.

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