"Gravity" Media Installation, Aarau, Switzerland

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  • Project: "Gravity" Media Installation, Aarau, Switzerland
  • Date: February 2011
  • Client: Einwohnergemeinde der Stadt Aarau and Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB
  • Contractor: Lightlife GmbH, Köln
  • Partner: Atelier Derrer GmbH, Zürich
  • Location: Einsteinpassage Aarau, Switzerland

„Gravity" is an interactive lighting installation. It reacts on passers-by in the pedestrian underpass as well as on weather, time and season.

After the remodeling of Aaraus central station and the surrounding public spaces, the pedestrian tunnel was dedicated with a bronze plaque to Albert Einstein in commemoration of his formative years spent in this Swiss town. This also set the theme for the visual content shown on the 21 LED windows; scenes which play with physical principles, illustrating laws of time, energy and gravity. Nature’s forces in response to moving bodies and the passing of time.

Together with light design mastermind Rolf Derrer and architects Stefan Jauslin and Mateja Vehovar, MESO developed and programmed a multitude of visual scenes for the low-resolution, high-brightness LED fixtures in the underpass, and also devised the technical back-end and scheduling system. The installation was realized by our friends at Lightlife.
The playout engine that we developed interweaves generative, always-changing visual algorithms with a large number of prerendered video loops (created by Rolf Derrer and Eduardo Santana). It reacts on pedestrians’ movements via an array of ‘retina sensors’ embedded into the ceiling of the underpass.These programmable high-performance sensors – developed by Tobi Delbruck and customized for this project by Christian Braendli at the Institute of Neuroinformatics (INI) of the University and ETH Zurich – record movement vectors of any number of objects and communicate directly with our rendering engine (which was built in 100% VVVV, naturally). Furthermore the systems react on the weather outside (thanks to a RSS feed), the time of day and the season of the year.

The MESO Team: Max Wolf, Sebastian Oschatz, Philipp Steinweber, Markus Lorenz Schilling

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