Draw by Light

The project began with a possible future scenario; it’s the year 2050, and increased global warming has dramatically altered nearly every aspect of daily life, including how art is being experienced. In an effort to become more sustainable, galleries no longer display physical artworks, and artists only draw using light and movement. Set in this future world, this interactive art installation invites the viewer/user to draw using light as their medium, their body as a pen.

The installation takes the form of a large ceiling tile suspended above the viewer. Inside the piece are three ultrasound sensors, each attached to a tinted LED spotlight. Controlled by an Arduino, these three lights were controlled with a relay switch. When the viewer steps into the space of the work, the sensors immediately detect their presence and trigger the lights. They become part of the work itself, using their body to activate the CMYK color lights and create their own unique, ephemeral artwork.

The brief for this physical computing class was to create a drawing machine with a strong storytelling component. Our team was interested in using light, instead of ink, as a drawing tool and mode of self-expression. The project was completed over the course of two days.