White Noise White Light

November 24, 2009
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Interactive fiber-optic field

Meejin Yoon’s White Noise White Light was a temporary interactive light-and-sound installation commissioned and installed for the Athens 2004 Olympics. The project consisted of a field of fiber-optic strands and under-mounted electronics units that responded to the movement of pedestrians through the field by transmitting white light from white LEDs and white noise from speakers below a raised platform.

Just as white light is made of the full spectrum of light, white noise contains an equal amount of every frequency within the range of hearing. Each “stalk unit” possesses its own passive infrared sensor and microprocessor, which use a software differentiation algorithm to determine whether a body is passing by the stalk. If motion is detected, the white LED illumination grows brighter while the white noise increases in volume. Once motion is no longer detected, the microprocessor smoothly decreases the light and fades the sound to silence. The movement of pedestrians creates an afterglow effect in the form of a flickering wake of white light and white noise, trailing and tracing visitors as they cross the field. Depending on the time of day, number of people, and trajectories of movement, the project is constantly choreographed by the cumulative interaction of the public. The field becomes an unpredictable aggregation of movement, light, and sound.

Contact: MY Studio, Boston, MA, USA.

For more information, see Transmaterial 2: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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