Rotation Index - CODAworx

Rotation Index

Client: Colorado State University

Location: Denver, CO, United States

Completion date: 2023

Project Team


Jason Bruges Studio


Colorado State University

Production Partner



Site-specific media artwork for Colorado State University.

Rotation Index is an immersive expression of light that changes its appearance with the weather. Located at Colorado State University’s Spur Campus at the National Western Center in Denver, the artwork responds to pioneering research into the future of plant health and horticulture.

Spanning the length of a pedestrian bridge linking the Hydro building (focused on water) and Terra building (focused on food and agriculture), the artwork is a welcoming gateway that represents a living ecosystem.

Taking its form from Colorado’s circular crop fields, Rotation Index translates live data into a cellular display of light. 348 luminous, LED rings display generative patterns based on the weather and information from the University’s growth chambers, greenhouses and green roofs. In stable conditions, the animation is subtle and meditative. As changes happen, the behaviour becomes more erratic and colours swing between amber hues to cool shades of blue.

Like a plant, Rotation Index manifests different growth patterns dependent on changing environmental stimuli reflecting the lively environment on campus.

Materials: mixed media, custom-control software and custom electronics.
Dimensions: 16m x 0.71m x 0.21m


In 2020, Colorado State University (CSU) launched an open call seeking proposals for an iconic public art installation for its new campus focused on the future of food and agriculture, water, animal and human health.

The brief outlined five key aims: to be innovative and dynamic, act as a gateway into the new campus, enhance the arrival experience, create a sense of place and engage audiences with the exciting research and discovery happening on site.


From the interdisciplinary team working together in-house at the studio, to the close relationship with our client and local production partners, collaboration sits at the heart of this project. During concept design, Jason Bruges Studio (JBS) worked alongside the Department of Horticulture with Assistant Professor Jennifer Bousselot and Assistant Professor Joshua Craver who, together with their teams, are researching controlled environment horticulture and agrivoltaics, combining the use of solar panels and food crops to maximize land use.

Creating a link with the department’s experiments, the artwork uses data directly from Spur’s new growth chambers, greenhouses and green roofs. The initial data set monitors water content in the soil, observing how it changes in shade versus sunlit spaces. This information is then combined with local weather data, including light intensity, time of day, cloud cover, and temperature, to generate a dynamic range of inputs that influence the artwork’s behaviour. Like a plant, Rotation Index manifests different growth patterns dependent on changing environmental stimuli.

The result of the collaboration is a finely tuned, place-specific design which showcases CSU Spur’s pioneering research.

Additional Information

Rotation Index has been designed as a permanent piece with high-quality, long-lasting components. To keep energy usage to a minimum, the artwork uses physically robust, class leading, energy efficient LEDs. The main structure consists of 183 aluminium nodes with the material chosen for its durability and recyclability. It also doesn’t contain glue so component parts can be disassembled and recycled when the piece comes to the end of its life.