This project was a partnership with the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC), the New Media program and RIC researcher and Artist-in-Residence David Rokeby.
Utilizing the LED panels of the renovated Image Arts building as a dynamic chromatic skin, this research project explored the potential of this low-resolution surface as a location for interactive artworks in an active public environment.
Initially, the facade as delivered to the University only allowed for static light shows to be programmed (ie: a playlist of pre-recorded patterns). One major outcome of this work included the development of custom software that enables real-time, interactive control of the LED panels from any software using an open protocol. We produced documentation, light maps and a full 3D simulator applications
Working with a team of students, we also developed a proof of concept mobile application for our control software that enabled multiple users to interact with the exterior of the building through an interface on their phone. Using our app, users could input gestures to control elements of colour, motion and flow on the LED lights.
The mobile phone application was live during the reopening party for the Image Arts building and also during Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2012, where it received over 10,000 connections from participant’s phones. The interactive facade was mentioned in the Globe and Mail, the May 2013 issue of Architectural Record and the 2011-2012 FCAD Review.
Our software was also used by a Dave Colangelo and Patricio Davila for their project In the Air, Tonight, an installation which used the RIC’s LED facade to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness, the first in hopefully a series of interactive works making use of the RIC facade as a resource. I worked with the artists to integrate our technology with their software and bring their idea to life.
RIC Student Forum
In March 2012, I gave a presentation with David Rokeby to students discussing RIC Video wall and LED Facade, providing insights in aesthetics, technology and the project development process.
I gave a conference presentation at UQAM in the Winter of 2013 during the Lumières de la Ville symposium (translated: Urban Lights) that placed the work that we have done on the Facade within a broader context of what I called minimal expression, referring to low-resolution interactive screen in an urban setting.