Archive
2014
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
2013
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2012
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2011
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2010
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2009
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2008
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2007
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2006
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Oct. 10, 2012

Voices in the Sky

by Annette Heist

Click to enlarge images
{"input":{"width":"225","photo":"gazing","row":"4448","table":"DOCUMENT"}}
Always wanted to see your name up in lights? Here's one better: Your voice up in lights.
 
Open Air is an interactive art installation now running in Philadelphia. The project, by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, uses recorded voices to manipulate 24 searchlights into "light formations," visible from miles away.
 
Here's how it works: Visitors download an iOS app, and connect to a local wifi network. Participants use the app to record a 30-second message. According to the artist, a software program analyzes the volume, entonation, frequency and amplitude of the message and the resulting data are used to direct the brightness and postion of the lights in the sky. Your rant, poem, or love story is transformed into a lightshow as the actual recorded message is played simultaneously through loudspeakers at the location and through the app. The app also collects your location information so the lights can be beamed at you when your message is played. For those not in the neighborhood, recordings can be submitted via the project website. You can also listen to the messages left by others. 
 
The installation runs through  October 14. Added bonus: This Friday, October 12, The Franklin Institute's chief astronomer Derrick Pitts will use Open Air's 24 searchlights to point out objects in the night sky. The Planetarium on the Parkway event starts at 8:30 PM and it's free.  
About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

topics