Built in 1931, this Art Deco railroad underpass in Birmingham, Alabama is a vital gateway between the heart of downtown and a new urban space called Railroad Park. In recent years the dark tunnel had deteriorated into an unwelcoming and potentially dangerous area, so the city hired sculptor and public artist Bill FitzGibbons to create a lighting solution that would encourage more pedestrian traffic. Titled LightRails the installation is composed of a network of computerized LEDs that that form various lighting patterns in the previously darkened underpass. (via contemporist)
For the last thirteen years Serpentine Gallery has invited a guest architect to design a temporary structure on the London gallery’s front lawn. In what is billed as “the most ambitious architectural program of its kind worldwide,” designs have come from such visionaries as Ai Weiwei in 2012 and Frank Gehry in 2008. This year, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (who at 41 become the youngest to accept the invitation) constructed a large network of 20mm steel poles and latticed metal that covers an area of 3,800 square feet.
While the white pavilion is impressive in its own right, the gallery further commissioned London-based United Visual Artists to create a network of LED lights that are meant to mimic the natural forms of an electric storm. At night the normally grounded structure becomes an electrified geometric cloud that flashes and pulsates with light. The installation is further enhanced by an accompanied soundtrack of precisely timed soundbites including the buzzing of electrical plants, effectively creating an auditory effect of thunder. A somewhat similar intervention took place here in Chicago a few years ago when LuftWerk transformed Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. (via Wired, Huffington Post)
Night Stroll is a lovely animated short by Tao Tajima. Various light figures are seen interacting with locations around Tokyo, I can’t begin to guess how this was all planned, shot and animated and there is almost no information about it online, but it’s remarkable nonetheless. (via be con in riot)
Several years ago Los Angeles-based airbrush make-up artist, photographer and designer Adam Tenenbaum was bequeathed several large vintage chandeliers that he thought might look good in his home, but to his dismay they were a bit too large. Then an idea struck him: why not hang a few in the giant tree in his front yard. The Chandelier Tree was born. Filmmaker Colin Kennedy passed the tree almost daily for nearly six years and finally decided to sit down the Tenenbaum to shoot this short documentary about this strange and beautiful tree. (via kuriositas, boing boing)
Chinese artist Xu Bing has several works currently on view as part of an exhibition at Mass MoCA in Massachusetts. Among the works are two 12-ton birds titled Phoenix that fill the museum’s football field-sized Building 5. Two years in the making, the birds were constructed from materials collected at various Chinese construction sites including demolition debris, steel beams, tools, and assorted remnants of migrant laborers. The male Phoenix titled Feng measures 90 feet long, and the female, Huang, is nearly 100 feet in length from beak to its steel tail feathers. Both birds are illuminated from within through a network of lights.
Somewhat similar to artists Yao Lu and Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing seems to be commenting on China’s rapid commercial development that is drastically altering the physical and cultural landscape within the country. Phoenix will be on view October 27th. (via junk culture, hyperallergic, my modern met)
Through Hollow Lands is a 2012 installation by visual artists Etta Lilienthal and Ben Zamora of LILENTHAL|ZAMORA at Frye Art Museum in Seattle. The suspended labyrinth was constructed from 200 fluorescent lights in various configurations, creating a sort of immersive geometric canopy of light. If you liked this, also check out the work of Esther Stocker. Photos above by Malcolm Smith courtesy Frye Art Museum. (via colossal submissions)
Calgary-based artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett (previously) swung by Chicago this month and installed this amazing interactive lighting solution called Cloud Ceiling at Progress Bar. Constructed from hand-bent steel, reflective mylar, electronics, motion sensors, LEDs, and 15,000 re-appropriated incandescent light bulbs, the cloud is now a permanent fixture in the bar which opened earlier this week. Motion sensors embedded in the ceiling cause the cumulous surface of light bulbs to illuminate, effectively ‘mapping’ a lit path through the cloud as bar patrons move through the space.
Brown and Garret were featured in this space last year, for a similar interactive cloud installed at Nuit Blanche Calgary. You can learn more about Cloud Ceiling here.