Solar Things to Think About - CODAworx

Solar Things to Think About

Client: Confidential

Location: Charlotte , NC, United States

Completion date: 2024

Artwork budget: $1,200,000

Project Team


Samuel Stubblefield

Technical Lead

Ethan Rainbolt


Envoy Digital Environments


Cynthia Reeves


80ft x 12ft LED Screen and overhead full-range speakers for display of real-time video visualization of solar activity provided by NASA and NOAA satellites.

Telling a story of renewable energy, Solar Things to Think About is a visualization and sonification of magnetospheric activity caused by solar flares 93 million miles from the installation itself.

Alongside creating a connection to the vast energy that surrounds us, the work also explores new visual languages that are, in ways, more articulate than alphanumeric languages. Different from the symbolism of abstract data visualizations that are commonly found in artistic data visualizations, the piece provides legible data and communicates information with greater precision.

“This work should articulately communicate complex data in a way that one ‘feels’ and knows. In data-based generative art, the viewer is often only given an impression of data. In my studio, we are more curious about the new languages that will help us deal with increased complexities. We do the hard work it takes to represent complex data honestly.” -Samuel Stubblefield


Public engagement around artistic uses of satellite telemetry, renewable energy, and technology.


The process began with an exploration of data sets that were available to use for generative art that would relate to the Sun.

With the studio's long-standing relationship to NASA and NOAA, the agencies were able to help Stubblefield’s studio understand more about the satellites that might provide data for the installation.

Additionally, the agencies were able to help the studio understand the effect that solar activity has on the Earth.

The studio selected data points that were particularly resonant, focusing on unseen solar activity that affects weather patterns on Earth.

Once the data sets were determined, the studio was given access to real-time satellite data and began to associate a visual vernacular to the data.

The visual vernacular wanted to be beautiful, however it was imperative that the data was also legible. The studio spent a significant amount of time “bracketing” the data to be able to associate important events with a corresponding visual expression. The detailed work was led by Ethan Rainbolt, the studio's technical lead for the project.

Additionally, the same data is expressed in sound through the overhead speakers. In a similar process used to create the visual language, Stubblefield painstakingly associated data to specific sounds, all of which were re

Additional Information

Special thanks to Ethan Rainbolt, Technical Lead Thanks to NOAA, and NASA for their collaboration and provision of real-time data Carbon offset promise: This work comes with a carbon offset of 22,433kg (49456 lbs). Carbon offsets are managed by Terrapass ( Offsets include landfill gas capture, farm methane capture, clean energy investments, and abandoned coal mine methane capture projects, and are Verified Carbon Standard offsets registered under the Climate Action Reserve.