A rail station captivates with light
Artist Ivan Toth Depeña enlisted Focus Lighting of New York City to help develop his concept for a permanent interactive light-based art installation in downtown Miami, Florida. The installation, commissioned by Miami-Dade Art in Public Places, is located in the busy Stephen P. Clark Government Center MetroRail station in Miami, Florida, USA. Today, visitors and commuters moving through the station often stop in their tracks to take a second look at what they see — abstract versions of themselves.
Depeña's vision was to highlight the communal nature of the space and to integrate the idea of the daily movement within the space into his piece using sensors and light. Focus Lighting worked with Depeña to produce a sample light box prototype to help visualize his proposal to the City of Miami. Once the winning project was commissioned, Depeña and Focus Lighting worked together to resolve logistical and technical challenges ranging from box design, light source, and construction to fixture brightness and method of control.
For the final project, Depeña and Focus Lighting custom designed and developed five 3.9 m (13 ft) light boxes, between 1.8 m (6 ft) and 2.4 m (8 ft) wide, and outfitted them with Color Kinetics iColor Flex LMX (now specificed with Flex Compact gen3, RGB) LED strings and iColor Cove QLX linear LED luminaires (now specified as PureStyle Compact Powercore, IntelliHue). The LED light boxes are controlled by a Color Kinetics Video System Manager Pro (VSM Pro), an integrated hardware and software solution enabling video playback and visual effects. Focus Lighting developed custom camera tracking software that collects data from passers-by which is then sent to the VSM Pro to generate the abstract reflections.
Depeña wanted to do more than just generate abstract reflections, requiring Focus Lighting to program the boxes to respond to multiple factors. For instance, colors vary depending on the time of day, and the size of the images corresponds to the visitors' distance from the box. Despite these transformations, the visitors' reflections are of accurate scale and proportion so that they can easily recognize the forms as their own.
Even when there is no movement in the lobby area, the light boxes replay animations from previously recorded interactions with visitors. The installation seeks to engage visitors and promote a sense of community through "group interactivity and high-tech playfulness."