1. LEDs + Fireflies + Bicycles = Art

July 3, 2012

We’ve written about how bicyclists are using LED lights to transform their rides (for both decoration and safety), but here’s a project that elevates that concept to high art.

Chicago art student David Rueter plans to distribute 1000 interactive LED lights to bicyclists attending Northern Spark, a dusk-to-dawn arts festival in Minneapolis that’s been described as a “one night creative explosion.” For more info, here is The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies) funding proposal on Kickstarter, and here is Reuter’s blog with mesmerizing photos of the lights themselves.

The LED devices will be outfitted with microcontrollers and radio units that allow them to communicate and synchronize with each other, as do certain species of fireflies. The cyclists will gather at 11:59 p.m. for a ride across the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, for a ride that is equal parts performance art and science project. It sounds like it will be an incredible sight.

This Q & A with Rueter that appeared on Huffington Post which explains how he got the idea (it was inspired by the Cabrini Green Project, another LED art installation, the patterns that flow from bicycling, and urban social behavior), how the LED lights communicate, and the potential for art to disrupt city spaces.