Chromatic Play is a sculptural installation at Guildford Castle created by visual artist and researcher Tine Bech and the Surrey Light Project, an interdisciplinary research project at the University of Surrey. The exhibition relates to research interests of the artist and project team, and it also represents an important collaboration between Guildford Borough Council and the University of Surrey, through the medium of public art. MILES
I was contacted by artist (and researcher) Tine Bech about software and hardware design of an interactive electronic lighting system for a project in the Guildford Castle. We had worked on an light based project before, Tine’s wonderful Light Pot, but this was a much more challenging problem.
The Project Brief
The project brief was on integrating scientific research on light with that of creative engagement. This allowed, not only opportunities to learn how light can affect the brains activity, but also human creative though can respond to light.
Previously completed research has shown that certain wavelengths of light can be responsible for invoking different feelings and reactions in us. Blue light (~464nm), for example, has been show to keep us alert. How does this change our experience of the exhibition ?Visitors to the installation would contribute to the research through questionnaires with emphases on open-ended questions.
The location was chosen as the Guildford Castle. It offered a perfectly suited environment to fulfil the objectives of the research proposal. Often, visitors would pass through the interior room of the castle to the main attraction, the viewpoint on the roof. This interior space has been fitted with a modern floor and ceiling whilst leaving the bare walls of the caste visible.
Given the research proposal, the system design would be centred around modularity and flexibility. It should allow easy (and ideally central) reprogramming of interactive behaviour to work in any space in the future.
With this project being in a heritage space, we also had some serious constraints placed on us, the castle itself could not be touched, nothing could be fixed to the walls.
The entire system was built from the ground up with the inclusion of wireless modules and a central point of control (PCB Design, production, right up to programming all custom) to suite these needs. More information can be found on Tine’s site here: http://www.tinebech.com/interactive/chromaticplay.html
A video from Tine showing the “creatures” as they came to be known, in action: