SkyLines

Submitted by Melissa Borrell

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Client: City of Austin

Location: Austin, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Artist

Melissa Borrell

Melissa Borrell Design

Other

Hanna Lupico

Public Art Agent

Anna Bradley

Austin Art in Public Places

Overview

Beginning with the desire to create a floating sculpture that inspires the sense of awe that I feel when looking up at the stars at night, I developed the concept for SkyLines.

The glowing lines of fiber optic cable were the perfect medium to achieve this goal. The colors change slowly from one moment to the next blending colors that emanate from the computer controlled LED lights at either end of each line. The calming colorful display floats in this space that is often forgotten or avoided creating a sense wonder and quiet as visitors look up and experience magic in an unexpected place. The sculpture interacts with visitors by “greeting” them with a more excited light display

SkyLines is constructed of illuminated fiber optic light cables oriented in a twisted arrays. The structured alignment of the arrays juxtapose the natural setting; attracting attention in the organic environment of Boggy Creek Park. SkyLines is mounted between two existing structures which provide an elevation and width for the sculpture to achieve a spanning affect. The sculpture is not intended to support direct human touch or interaction. The placement of the sculpture at a minimum height of 12-feet discourages direct contact with visitors. It spans the width of the underpass for a total of 38 feet.

Goals

This project was integrated with the site by using the existing columns in the park to create a suspended sculpture. By choosing this dark space we brought a sense of wonder to a part of the park that is usually avoided.

Process

SkyLines is an illuminated fiber optic installation programed to interact with visitors in unique and surprising ways. The project was commissioned by the City of Austin and Austin Art in Public Places and installed in Boggy Creek Park in Austin October-December 2015. With lights on both ends of each fiber optic cable the sculpture illustrates subtractive color mixing blending where the two colors meet on each cable. IR lights allow motion tracking and the information is then fed to the computer with passes the message onto the lights as to how to react. The sculpture displays dynamic light patterns and has the intelligence to recognize and react when a visitor is near. Upon being approached SkyLines is triggered to greet the visitor with a playful display.