Exhibition Opening: Thursday, April 30, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
Thursday, April 23 - Sunday, May 17, 2015

ICAT: Open (at the) Source

Ruth C. Horton Gallery

ICAT: Open (at the) Source enables visitors to explore and experience the research and innovation that’s happening within the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT).
This exhibition features two art installations: Cloud, created by Aki Ishida, assistant professor of architecture, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Ivica Ico Bukvic, associate professor of computer music, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; and Luminescent Forest, created by Paola Zellner Bassett, assistant professor of architecture, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Tom Martin, professor of electrical and computer engineering, College of Engineering.
Artists: Aki Ishida and Ivica Ico Bukvic with students of architecture, computer science, and engineering.
Design team: Suzanne Berry, Ciara Bucci, Hyun-Jun Cho, Corey Crist, Luke Dale, Zihan Hafiz, Zichun Huang, Christina LoConte, Runyu Ma, Siyu Zhang, Ge Zhou (School of Architecture + Design undergraduate students); Zachary Miller (Engineering Science and Mechanics undergraduate student); and Omavi Walker (Computer Science undergraduate student)
Support team: Alex Cleveland (Engineering alumnus) and Spencer Lee (Computer Science PhD student)

Cloud is an interactive art installation consisting of 50 sound- and light-emitting cloudlets that respond to other cloudlets and visitors. In October 2014, a constellation of 50 cloudlets making up the Cloud transformed the central green space of Welburn Square in Ballston, Virginia, into an interactive, community-created space of light and sound. The cloudlets emitted light and sound in response to activities of people, changes in the environment, and the light and sound generated by other cloudlets. Each cloudlet’s aluminum honeycomb and acrylic vessel contained a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, light sensors, microphone, multi-color LEDs, and a small speaker. These components were driven by a custom version of Virginia Tech’s Pd-L2Ork open source software for audio, video, and graphics processing. Aki Ishida and Ivica Ico Bukvic led the design and fabrication of the Cloud with a team of architecture and engineering students. Together, they facilitated five community workshops, where 50 teams from businesses, organizations, and schools customized the behaviors of the cloudlets and placed them in Welburn Square. The Cloud grew cumulatively as more people joined and added their unique perspectives.
Artists: Paola Zellner in collaboration with Tom Martin; students involved include Adam Burke, Brian Heller, Kelsey Margulies, Michael Bednar, and Matt Young
Luminescent Forest is one project in a series that seeks to test and discover, through the spatialization of information, desirable implementations of responsive technologies to augment the experiencing of physical space. A spatial media installation developed with an interdisciplinary group of students, Luminescent Forest activates the gallery space, turning it into a responsive environment. The layout and spacing of the "trees" (textile cylindrical volumes) frame partial views into the forest, enticing the visitors to explore the space and discover along their path the interactive works that occupy the clearings in the forest. Within the forest several of the textile cylindrical volumes house responsive technology and are actuated when the sensors read the presence of human motion, lighting up to reveal the volume of the space. NETS 2.0, a responsive net hanging in one of the clearings, explores, in addition to motion, the incorporation of optical fibers in the netting process to inform its changes in appearance and to affect the qualities of the installation space.

Above left:
Paola Zellner Bassett and Tom Martin
NETS 1.0, 2014, part of Luminescent Forest
Spatial media installation
Textiles, motion sensors, fiber optics, and LED illuminator
Above right:
Aki Ishida and Ivica Ico Bukvic
Aluminum honeycomb, stainless steel, acrylic, Raspberry Pi microcomputer, sensors, speakers, and LEDs
Each 36" x 36" x 6"
Photography by Jeff Goldberg/Esto