River Motion Installation

Data-responsive light art installation in downtown Santa Cruz, CA

Project Scope

The River Motion art installation was an outdoor light sculpture commissioned by the City of Santa Cruz as part of the 2018 Ebb and Flow festival. VE took part in an RFP process, out of which this concept was selected to move forward. The resulting installation was a data-driven LED light art piece that interpreted historical river data from the San Lorenzo river into patterns of color and intensity. This installation was built on the Soquel Ave bridge in downtown Santa Cruz, California — VE’s home base. From a logistical standpoint, the installation had to withstand four seasons, so all the construction and materials had to be weather-proofed and resistant to salt water (being close to the ocean). This meant concealing computers inside of lampposts in weather-sealed enclosures, with only hardwired access in order to update programming. Creatively, this was a very simple installation with less than two universes of DMX total — but with this small amount of pixels covering hundreds of feet, the programming became key in creating a vibrant and exciting way to envision the health of the river.

Tools Used

Vectorworks + Cinema4D for conceptual / design

Madrix + custom JavaScript for lighting control and data parsing

Key Players

Design – Visual Endeavors

Installation – Legend Theatrical

LED Supplier – Environmental Lights

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