MICRO-Double Helix - CODAworx

MICRO-Double Helix

Client: City of Scottsdale

Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2016

Project Team


Aaron Sherwood & Kiori Kawai

Scottsdale Public Art


City of Scottsdale

City of Scottsdale


MICRO-Double Helix is an interactive, multi-media art installation brought to the Scottsdale Waterfront by Scottsdale Public Art for Canal Convergence Water Art Light. The installation of over 200 translucent plastic balls of varying sizes was suspended on either side of the 88’ long Marshall Way Bridge. Each ball was equipped with a light, speaker, and motion sensor hardware so when moved, each ball would generate a unique sound, and light up with one of five different colors. With MICRO-Double Helix, the audience experiences a hidden world of bouncing molecules made life-sized, exploding with light and sound when touched.


Canal Convergence Water Art Light is an annual series of engaging and inspiring free events at the Scottsdale Waterfront featuring innovative large-scale installations by local, and international artists, hands-on activities, live music, and performances. When selecting a temporary art installations for Canal Convergence, Scottsdale Public Art uses a variety of guidelines to evaluate submissions, such as aesthetics, viability, and the artwork must be able interactive in some way. MICRO-Double Helix met all of the necessary criteria to provide a thoughtful and engaging art experience to viewer of all ages. By combining touch, light and sound in an outdoor setting which could be activated by dozens of people at once, and having had successful installations of various incarnations of the MICRO concept previously, MICRO-Double Helix was the ideal project to be presented to the public at Canal Convergence.


Scottsdale Public Art selected artist collective Purring Tiger and their interactive, multi-media art installation MICRO to be a featured artwork at Canal Convergence Water Art Light 2016 for its interactive qualities and ability to have both a day and nighttime presence. In order to bring MICRO to the Scottsdale Waterfront for Canal Convergence, Purring Tiger was challenged to re-imagine the layout of MICRO, originally commissioned for the Burning Man Festival 2014, to reside on one of the main thoroughfares of Canal Convergence: Marshall Way Bridge. Instead of reinstalling the metal structure that enclosed the original artwork MICRO, Purring Tiger split the installation and used the bridge covering as the support to suspend the balls across two walkways between the bridge railing and the interior bridge path. This dual location installation led to the new name, MICRO-Double Helix, which in turn offered an additional allusion to our interaction with the molecular world by way of the DNA Double Helix.

Additional Information

Scottsdale Public Art received an overwhelmingly positive response to the MICRO-Double Helix installation at Canal Convergence Water Art Light 2016. Crowds came in droves to investigate the colorful, flashing pops of light swaying back and forth across the Marshall Way Bridge. This year’s Canal Convergence saw its largest attendance to date, just over 50,000 people in four days, and MICRO-Double Helix was one of the main attractions creating this milestone. Learn more about this installation at http://www.purringt.com/micro-double-helix/