Design Collective's Submission Selected for Light City Baltimore 2016

Published Dec 2, 2015
Dec 2, 2015

Baltimore, MD - Premiering in 2016, Light City Baltimore is the first large-scale, international light festival in the United States. Light City’s innovation programming will generate an ecosystem of ideas and learning during the day – while lights, performances and live music reimagine the Inner Harbor at night.

DCI’s submission was chosen by a jury of five from more than 150 submissions. The Team’s proposal, Light Wave| Baltimore’s Beacon, will be located at the Pier V Lighthouse and focus on the translation of sound into waves of light visualization. LightWave is an installation that seeks to reaffirm the identity of the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, through repurposing its use of light from a once directive application to now an immersive experience that engages its home in the city.

The proposed installation focuses on bringing together multiple disciplines, including visual arts, architecture, music and technology, to create an interactive experience of light and sound that echoes the pulse of Charm City. Several microphones, located at the periphery of the lighthouse, will collect the surrounding sounds of the site and Inner Harbor. The collected sound waves will then be transformed  into a visual display of undulating illuminated "waves" of light, overlaid with images of Baltimore's neighborhoods and communities. These "waves" will be projected onto a panoramic screen element surrounding the lighthouse at its base, and create a visual experience that can be viewed from all sides. The overall effect would create a fluid and dynamic visual representation of the ambient sounds of the Inner Harbor.

Given that the light and movement of the projections are responsive to collected sounds, the installation also provides an opportunity for a more interactive experience. Active play with pitch, tone, and volume of speech is visually recorded through the LightWave's projections. This allows the waves to be manipulated by the influence of an audience's purposeful making of sound. For example a visitor could explore the difference of what a whisper would look like compared to that of a yell, and constantly change their tone and level of voice to create unique wave patterns. This feature could then be taken a step further, in which it could create opportunities for musicians to collaborate and influence the project as well. For example a musical performance with lots of percussion could create sharp, staccato crashes of waves, while a softer sound would result in a gentle undulation.

Baltimore’s sights, sounds, and people are what create its dynamic and vibrant atmosphere. We look to this installation to remind residents and visitors alike, of the true essence of Baltimore. LightWave begins to embody this essence through the reestablishment of a beacon, which draws its light from the pulse of the city itself.

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