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June 4, 2013 AT 3:00 am

Bay Lights Backstory Exclusive

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Ben Davis reflects on Bay Lights role as technological art via wired.com:

The Bay Lights is obviously a technological marvel. How can it not be, with its 25,000 individually controllable LEDs networked across 1.8 miles of the Bay Bridge, upon which an array of non-repeating algorithms appear nightly for the next two years? It is also unquestionably a work of public art: the world’s largest LED light sculpture, hung 500 feet over water at night on a public bridge that carries 100 million cars annually.

It’s even a testament to the maker ethos, since it was driven by a personal vision, a DIY spirit, and had a dramatic Oceans Eleven-like moment — where instead of a stolen pinch, a fastener 3-D-printed on a MakerBot may have saved the day. (Just watch the video below.)

In short, The Bay Lights has been heralded by many as the nexus of art and technology.

But is that really so? Given my experience and perspective as the originator of the project — having tracked it from conception and gestation to birth and beyond — I question whether “technology” is worthy of its equal billing with “art” here.

Read more!


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