The “Bridge” Between Art & Technology

Ben Davis, founder of Words Pictures Ideas, came up with an idea to turn the iconic (West Span) Bay Bridge into a giant canvas for light art and later brought this vision to life with light artist Leo Villareal.

After seeing the animated GIF renderings of the “The Bay Lights”, I was compelled to “experience” it in person. Standing at the viewing site across from the bridge, all I could hear was the locals wildly chatting about what they’d like to see being animated. It excited me to witness the Bay Lights installation, not only transforming the landscape of the city, but also opening up a creative dialogue of art and technology to spark a transformation in the city’s community.

“My pieces tend to mirror the activity around them,” said Villareal, who added that the abstract patterns to be shown on the Bay Bridge will be drawn from water, traffic, and local weather patterns.

The Bay Lights visually outputs complex information and data in the form of the world’s largest LED light sculpture. The technology behind the project converts the invisible into visible. The 25,000 LED lights sparkle to the rhythm of the surrounding ecosystem that is ever-changing. The installation therefore, like our Twitter and Facebook feeds, lives in the constant “now” – making no two moments on the bridge ever the same.

Could The Bay Lights be reflective of a shift in how we collectively consume information today?

Data mining and ever-adapting, time sensitive social patterns are qualities that today’s generation is immersed in. In the same way The Golden Gate Bridge has symbolized high achievement in engineering and science, The Bay Bridge now symbolizes art and technology in the new digital era – where digital information and physical infrastructure merge as one.

Courtesy of Jordan Kinley

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