Google Chrome Lets You Paint With Light on 745-Foot Public Sculpture

Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin, Unnumbered Sparks (2014). Via YouTube.

In case you weren’t sold on Google Chrome as a web browser yet, get a load of Unnumbered Sparks, a 745-foot interactive public sculpture suspended between the spires of the Vancouver Convention Centre and the 24-story Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. Created by artist Janet Echelman with Aaron Koblin of the Google Creative Lab, Unnumbered Sparks allows viewers to project moving colored light onto the sculpture, a giant, undulating, multi-layered net that serves as a floating canvas thanks to Chrome.

Known for her large-scale, aerially draped fabric sculptures in public spaces such as the San Francisco Airport, Echelman constructed Unnumbered Sparks from braided fishing line, while Koblin handled the project’s technological challenges. A giant Chrome browser window is displayed across the rope sculpture by five projectors. Viewers who wish to interact with the piece log into the local wi-fi network on their smartphones, go to the sculpture’s website, and select the color of their choice. By dragging their fingers across their phones’ screens, viewers can effectively paint with light on the sculpture in real time.

A Kickstarter campaign that ended Monday raised nearly US$30,000 for the installation costs. Videos on YouTube detail the making and installation of the piece, as well as the technology behind the art. Its installation in Vancouver coincides with the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference.

Sarah Cascone

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