YBCA - San Francisco
Until 31 / 10 / 2016

Designed by the San Francisco-based experimental architecture firm Future Cities Lab, Lightswarm is a stunning and dazzling wall installation of 430 individual modules employs sensors and LED lights to create a light show in a state of perpetual flux.

Responding to sounds harvested from YBCA’s interior space and the Yerba Buena Garden and nearby city street noise, this site-specific artwork activates the south facing glass façade of the Grand Lobby with playful patterns of light reminiscent of a swarm of flying birds.

During the day, filtered sunlight produces ever-changing flickers of light and shadow, while in the evening the façade is transformed into a dynamic electro-luminescent composition that electrifies the glass wall. Sound sensing spiders, attached directly to individual glass panels in the Grand Lobby, transform the façade into what the artists call “urban sensors—instruments to sense the city, visualize its auditory pulse, and amplify its latent energies into cascades of light”. Real-time data collected from these audio sensors drive the direction and color of the swarming algorithm, which generates patterns of streaming light. The result is an artificially intelligent façade: a smart surface that can sense, compute, respond, and interact with its surroundings.

Future Cities Labdatagrove

Lightswarm’s unique suspended light modules individually change their intensity and color. Each module was created from 3D printed components, custom electronic elements, addressable LED strips, and laser-cut skins made out of recyclable PET plastic and synthetic paper. This work is an exemplary display of Future Cities Lab’s interest in liminal spaces and location, as the glass wall allows for multiple views and perspectives on this ever-changing installation.

For the next year at the YBCA, Murmur Wall (2015) is currently under development and scheduled to be installed in early spring of 2015.

Commissioned by YBCA as a site-specific installation for the wall along the south side of the steps and plaza area of 701 Mission Street, the main entrance to YBCA, Murmur Wall (2015) is currently under development and scheduled to be installed in early spring of 2015.

Designed by Future Cities Lab, a San Francisco-based experimental architecture firm, it will accompany the Lab’s Lightswarm (2014), currently on view on the south façade of YBCA’s Grand Lobby.

Future Cities Lab

Murmur Wall is a unique combination of sculpture, light installation, and data collector. It will provide a gathering place in the city for data voyeurs seeking out information about compelling issues and topics. Words harvested from trending search engine results will momentarily be displayed on the wall inviting visitors to view, contemplate, discuss, and debate randomly selected phrases. Constructed out of a complex weave of steel, illuminated fiber optic rods, and digital displays, the Murmur Wall will create a playful interface for this civic stronghold to reflect and indulge the anxieties and desires of its occupants.