Limbic Media

Limbic Media

Category: Community

How Interactive Placemaking Initiatives Can Boost Return On Investment (ROI)

AGORA | Path Of Light Singing Tree

Placemaking is an approach to economic development in public spaces that incorporates elements of urban design, planning, and management. The strategy combines cultural, physical, and social identities of a place with a community’s public amenities or a building’s shared areas to create spaces that inspire, educate, and contribute to overall well-being.

The idea behind successful placemaking is to create places that are “truly mixed-use space, multi-disciplinary, authentic and aesthetically beautiful,” according to an industry expert that took part in Urban Living Festival 2020’s webinar series. The approach is, in part, being driven by the millennial demographic as they become the dominant buying group and are more focused on pursuing a lifestyle full of experiences. 

Who is Placemaking For?

Aurora Tunnel At The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

A wide variety of organizations are able to make use of placemaking as a development strategy. Cities, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have the ability to incorporate placemaking into their community planning at a large scale to boost traffic in certain areas, generate revenue, or spread awareness about a local feature or initiative. Smaller organizations like property developers, retailers, and others can also implement placemaking in their space to create better environments or increase revenue. 

No matter the size of an organization, placemaking is a great way to increase returns on investment while also creating wonderful spaces for local communities. The trick is in taking the time to incorporate elements of the local aesthetic, history, and/or culture and investing in thoughtful design that showcases these unique features. With this approach, people are naturally drawn to certain areas within a city where they can have meaningful experiences and create remarkable memories. This also results in cities that are able to create long-lasting “brands” around neighborhoods or buildings, further adding to their appeal to residents and tourists alike.

The Experience Economy and Art in Placemaking

Heineken Tower at Festival

Aurora-Powered LED Towers For Heineken

Cities, BIAs, BIDs, downtown associations, and property developers that use placemaking as a pillar of community development are able to enhance the communities they build. By entering the experience economy through interactive public art installations, these organizations don’t only provide amazing experiences for community members, they also provide an economic opportunity.

Art is a great way to inspire people and facilitate engaging interactions, but establishing the value of just how much it contributes when it comes to placemaking has been difficult. However, Ryerson University and MASSIVart, a global art consultancy and production agency, are looking to find out what that return on investment (ROI) truly looks like in a new study.

Our years in business have proven to us, and our clients, that art placemaking is beneficial to increase traffic, transform spaces and enhance events by creating memorable experiences. Cultural programming and the inclusion of art in architecture, real estate, and design, and many other alternative areas can transform the sense of community & belonging and contribute to the collective well-being. Art conveys the character of a place, its value, its culture, its identity and narrative.” -MASSIVart (New University Study Will Finally Show The ROI Of Art)

Aesthetic Relaxing Architecture

Blanco Trade Show Booth At IDS 2020

Art installations, especially interactive ones, can help promote awareness and community engagement. They are also highly shareable across social media platforms, increasing a campaign’s exposure. Increased foot traffic often boosts sales, as does creating an experience that encourages passersby to spend more time exploring an area, helping support local businesses nearby. Safety concerns can also be addressed through placemaking, drawing people to particular parts of a city or downtown core.

Increasing ROI Through Interactive Experiences

Aurora | The Giving Tree

Through thoughtful, creative, and interesting design, interactive experiences are able to produce great benefits for communities, businesses, and, ultimately, people. These efforts contribute to a greater ROI for municipalities or business associations, as well as for property developers and other private investors or organizations.

Things like a giving tree set up around the holidays can generate revenue for local charities. Walkthrough experiences like AGORA: Path of Light are also able to generate revenue for a community from ticket sales, while also creating interactive cultural connections.

I can say reviews have been very positive. It was exciting to see the joy across a wide spectrum of demographics, particularly teens and 20-somethings; they’re often harder to impress. Agora is the perfect Covid experience and likely why it was so popular at a time when there was little competition. There was also a ton of advertising and promotion behind the event. Ticket sales were more than double our expectations and contributed positively to ancillary sales at commercial businesses in the Village.” – Patti Kendall, Director of Marketing & Events, Blue Mountain Village Association

How Placemaking Benefits Communities While Boosting ROI

Art Wall made for Belford Properties

Belford Properties Interactive Hoarding

The versatility of interactive art installations can greatly contribute to placemaking in a community or space. Whether it’s an indoor lighting display, an outdoor sound and light walkthrough experience or something in between, the economic benefit of designing and installing interactive experiences is obvious. Besides contributing to the local economy, especially as part of pandemic recovery initiatives, these engaging experiences also contribute to the overall health, happiness, and well-being of a community. 

Placemaking approaches can help boost ROI for cities, business associations, property developers, retailers, and community organizations. It can also ensure that the people who live and work in a community have even more reasons to engage, connect, support, and appreciate the public and private spaces they exist in.

Excited about the potential for placemaking initiatives like these to increase your ROI? Get in touch with us to start planning an engaging interactive experience for your community.

Interactive Hands-Free Experiences Are The Next Marketing Frontier

Between a global pandemic that restricts the usual celebrations around the holidays and the social rumblings of a less wasteful lifestyle getting louder each year, gift-giving is slowly becoming a different experience. And, speaking of experience, the days of coveting the latest gadget, toy, or trinket are shifting to become much more focused on just that – experiencing things together.

This change in consumer behaviour, alongside the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies, particularly when looking at retail and hospitality sectors, is creating a new type of opportunity for modern businesses. Dubbed the “experience economy,” this opportunity provides a solution for retailers and community organizations that are looking to keep people engaged in a safe manner. It also entices consumers to come and experience the offer for themselves, helping create priceless memories with their loved ones as they interact with hands-free technology.

What is the Experience Economy?

Experiences are a different type of economic opportunity. Typically thought of by economists as belonging to services, they are actually a category of their own with regard to the value they provide. Experiences hinge on customer participation and connection, two critical aspects of how the customer will interact with and reflect on a particular encounter.

Similar to goods and services, experiences are being commoditized as the next competitive battleground for leading-edge companies. Whether it’s for a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) model, companies that stage interactive experiences for their audiences are able to capitalize on this next step in the progression of economic value.

By explicitly designing and promoting a unique experience, a company or brand is able to tie their goods or services to something much more visceral. As modern consumers seek more substance in their interactions with businesses, entering the experience economy by creating an interactive lighting or shopping display can help companies stand apart from their competition, particularly as the pandemic makes every consumer dollar spent more critical.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted Retailers

The global health crisis has made us all rethink the types of interactions we have throughout the average day. Physical touch has been highlighted as problematic because of the pandemic since germs and viruses can be spread from infected surfaces. As a result, more hands-free interactive experiences are starting to enter the market in an effort to bring customers back in ways that are engaging and, most importantly, still safe.

Retailers have been especially affected by the economic downturn that COVID-19 has caused and finding new and innovative ways to instill excitement and trust in consumers has become a high priority for many business owners. Retail experiences that leverage the growing experience economy are able to better attract consumers, especially as many retailers rely on big sales throughout the holiday season. 

By turning a town centre, mall, or store into a stage, the ability to provide much more than a product or service becomes a large part of the appeal for consumers. The designed experience can incorporate aspects of local culture, history, and community to create a collective memory for participants. It can also inspire a deeper level of brand loyalty that works in tandem to deliver interactive product knowledge. As stores work to turn their physical spaces into complementary experiences, more thorough consumer education about their products and brand can be delivered and an accurate pulse on consumer attitudes and preferences can be established.

Retailtainment” is emerging as the latest development in how brands attract and sustain their consumer base. Creating an installation with artistic elements using light and sound can help businesses and organizations find new, better ways to connect with their audiences and keep them engaged with their brand, story, and products in an entertaining and memorable way.

Canadian Tire Sign Victoria BC

Enter the Experience Economy by Creating an Interactive Experience

Hands-free interactive lighting, sound, or other technology installations are the future of experiential marketing. These types of displays help ensure physical distancing and other public health and safety guidelines can be met, while still providing a satisfying and often remarkable level of engagement for consumers.

The holiday season provides an especially appropriate chance for businesses and organizations to create an experience for consumers and community members. An incredible interactive installation can be designed for a wide range of occasions and needs through combining art, sounds, lights, and music. As more people experience the installation, the visibility of both the experience and the business increases. Attracting consumers to a business in this way can help boost foot traffic, sales, and engagement for a company looking to stand out amongst the crowd, or a municipality or other community organization seeking a fun and innovative way to connect with the people they support.

Whether it’s for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Pride, Lunar New Year, or any other celebratory occasion or holiday, activating a space with hands-free interactive lighting and sound technology allows retailers, community organizations, and other businesses to connect with people in a thoughtful and effective way. Designing these types of engaging public art installations can be the perfect way to burst a brand into the experience economy and is a critical part of reengaging consumers in the post-pandemic world.

To find out more about designing an interactive light and sound installation for your store, mall, or community space, get in touch with Limbic Media and get started on a new experience.

Expressing Elements Of Culture Through Interactive Public Art Installations

An immersive and inspiring experience is exactly what is needed in this uncertain and stressful time as much of the world deals with the ongoing global pandemic. Finding safe activities to do, especially ones that leave a positive and remarkable memory, in an effort to stay connected with friends and family is especially important these days.

Combining a bonding moment through learning is an ideal way to spend an evening experiencing something new. Interactive public art installations, such as the one set up at Blue Mountain Village in Ontario during the month of October, provide the perfect opportunity to interact with culture, nature, and history, evoking reflection and contemplation using artistic expression and advanced technologies in both hardware and software.

Entrance Of Agora: Path Of Light

AGORA: Path Of Light At Blue Mountain Village

Blue Mountain Village’s lighting installation, “AGORA: Path of Light,” creates a cultural experience that is both unusual and magical. The word “agora” is a term from ancient Greece that refers to open public spaces that were often used for markets or community gatherings. Inspired by this concept and imbued with the cycles of life in nature, participants walk a circular path through the forest on Blue Mountain. On this route, they encounter a series of interactive lighting systems that feature the five elements of air, space, earth, water, and fire.

AGORA provides an exploration of five different elements, combined into an evening’s walk through the forest. Featuring an open-air gondola ride before a three-kilometer walking loop, visitors stop at North Wind to engage with air, The Dream to see space, Sabia to connect with earth, Aqua to feel water flow, and Hearth to warm by the fire. Created in partnership with an artistic director and spoken word artist, as well as Indigenous members of the local community, AGORA is a full sensory discovery of nature.

Embarking on this journey of learning, participants can communicate with and see AGORA come to life through the languages of light and sound. The outdoor setting contributes to the allure of the activity, allowing visitors to walk through the installation at their own pace, maintaining a safe distance, and following other health and safety guidelines.

This type of activity is ideal for families, couples, and anyone else that is in search of a special opportunity to learn through a multi-sensory interactive experience.

Aqua: Water
The Dream: Space

Creating The AGORA Interactive Lighting Design

The AGORA installation at Blue Mountain was put together by a group of talented people in multiple industries across the country. The engaging result is the work of multiple contributors, including:

• Limbic Media from Victoria BC, world leaders in interactive art and light technology,

• Edesia Moreno Barata – Concept Designer & Artistic Director, most notably recognized for her work with Cirque du Soleil,

• Marie Metaphor Specht – Poet and Spoken Word Artist,

• Jeff Monague – Ojibwe language professor and writer,

• Grey Cloud/James Carpenter – Anishinaabek healer and advisor for this project, and the talented group at Blue Mountain Village.

Together, this team has brought the spirit of the forest and natural outdoor surroundings to life through light, sound, and leveraging the relationship between how humans learn as they experience both simultaneously.

At night, lighting installations like AGORA have the ability to create an all-encompassing atmosphere using technology to tell a story and mesmerize visitors.

Hearth: Fire
Sabia: Earth

Made With Limbic Media’s Aurora Platform

Using Limbic Media’s Aurora platform technology, a lighting control system that adjusts both lighting and sound, the ambiance created can represent what defines an area or neighborhood and is able to highlight aspects of nature, history, or another storytelling narrative. This smart system can “listen” to sound the way a human can and is able to respond by adjusting light and color patterns.

Walk-throughs like AGORA provide an opportunity for municipalities and organizations to put together an unforgettable event that also maintains current health guidelines. Designing a walk-through installation allows for directive control of the route and can be planned in such a way as to incentivize visitors to spend more time in a particular area. During these moments of pause, visitors can learn more about the history, natural setting, or any other storytelling element through voiceovers, riddles, interactive screens, and other ways to engage using light and sound. Specific reactions like surprise or awe can be provoked, leaving visitors with unique memories that can be cherished long after the activity ends.

These types of engaging installations also have the ability to incentivize window shopping and can be used to attract customers to other public spaces, such as shopping malls. As the holidays get closer, alternatives for safe festive celebrations, like an outdoor holiday light show, could also help community organizations create experiences to bond and connect community members.

Contact Limbic Media to get started on a new interactive lighting project for your community, organization, or event, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay connected!

MORE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL By: Steve Woolrich, Principal of Rethink Urban Inc.

 

MORE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

By: Steve Woolrich, Principal of Rethink Urban Inc.

The light we saw at the end of the tunnel was the front of an oncoming train, in this case
a worldwide pandemic we now refer to as Covid-19. Although this train has brought the
world to a screeching halt, we need to focus on what’s ahead. As a Community Safety
and Well-Being practitioner, and an expert in Crime Prevention through Environmental
Design (CPTED) for over two decades I’ve seen how this crisis has already impacted our
built environment. For the most part, it has crippled our public realm and our longing for
connection by advising us to stay home, and keep a safe distance from others. My work
continues to focus on the importance of people – place – connection, and as we navigate
our way through this pandemic new opportunities will emerge.

Learning more about CPTED and how we go about lighting our environments is well
worth exploring. To provide context the International CPTED Association defines it as a
multidisciplinary approach for reducing crime through urban and environmental design
and the management and use of built environments. During the past few years our team
developed a full SPECTRUM approach to co-creating safe communities and improving
well-being. As a result, we have stepped up our interest in lighting the places we live,
work and play. Lighting has the potential to transform a space, and how creative we are
in applying lighting solutions can lead to spectacular outcomes.

As one of my first CPTED instructors Timothy Crowe points out in his book titled Crime
Prevention through Environmental Design “Lighting has two purposes within the CPTED
conceptual model: one is for the illumination of human activities and the other is for
security.” As a practitioner I find this extremely limiting in its scope and believe we need
to carefully examine how more creative forms of lighting can do a lot more to enhance
our built environments, and improve well-being. In other words, there is a lot more to
lighting that turning on a switch, setting a timer or installing a motion sensor to activate a
light. Why not explore the growing alternatives to lighting and carefully plan for your
lighting needs?

Interactive lighting is exciting; it brings out the kid in me. As adults many of us have
forgotten how to play, and it shows in many of our urban places and spaces. Just think or
rethink the potential that lighting has to engage us, make us feel part of some place
special. It can stop us in our tracks, the sights, colors, and intricate designs now being
used to truly engage us – light us up! Is this art? Yes, and much more.

Objects we often consider ordinary or not particularly interesting can be morphed into a
delight for our senses, especially at night. In fact, urban areas can often be perceived as
dangerous with people becoming fearful and avoiding them all together. Activity support
is considered an important aspect of CPTED, a secret recipe for success in much of my
work. Creative lighting generates interest and attracts more people, increasing levels of
activity and improving our sense of safety.

There will always be those that deny that lighting such as this can improve safety and
well-being but I’ve seen no proof of this in any of my projects over several decades. In
fact, I’ve seen back alleys, streets and parks be transformed. People become intrigued,
and will go out of their way to see and experience these artistic spectacles which help
activate our imagination. So, do we want more light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, let’s
face it we all want to see the light.

Winners! Gold at IDS 2020 – Best Booth

Interior Design Show 2020: Best Booth Gold Award 

We recently had the oppurtunity to partner with Arc & Co to design and build an interactive booth experience for Blanco at the International Design Show 2020 in Toronto, Canada.

The interactive multimedia booth was awarded ‘Best Booth’ at IDS 2020.

Watch the video below to see how the public was invited to participate in a novel multimedia approach to exploring Blanco’s products.

 

The Tech

Limbic Media’s Aurora platform was used to coordinate a high-tech multimedia experience that gave Blanco an edge at IDS 2020.

A voice recognition system programmed to respond to a specific grammer of spoken inputs was used to trigger animations on the video screens and output elegant architectural LED design. Aurora’s LED output was used to light up a large diffuse cube engineered and built by Arc & Co. Users were given a unique interface through which to ‘wish’  for a variety of product options.

Interview Of CEO Justin Love At TransWorld

The CEO of Limbic Media, Justin Love, was just interviewed at TransWorld. Aaron (the interviewer) voted Aurora coolest thing he saw there. Check out the interview in the video below!

TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction show is the ONLY industry trade show of its kind in the world. There is no other show that has as many exhibitors and industry related products. For three decades TransWorld’s annual Halloween & Attractions show has created the marketplace for the Haunted House industry. Each year the Industry gathers to network, get new ideas and purchase products.

Winners 2019 VIATEC – Product Of The Year

Aurora Won Product Of The Year At The 2019 VIATEC Awards 

On June 14, 2019, the tech community gathered to celebrate the achievements of technology companies and individuals responsible for making Greater Victoria the fastest-growing technology region in British Columbia. The theme was “There’s no place like home.”

The CEO (Justin Love) and CTO (Manjinder Benning) of Limbic Media gave a concise speech, touching on climate change with a focus around working together with local tech companies to implement positive change. We aim to do our part to make a difference by lowering our carbon footprint. “There’s no place like home.”

We would like to give a huge thanks to all our supporters, followers, investors, and employees that helped make this achievement possible. “As the particles of dust gather a mountain will be formed.”

From Glowflow to Burning Man: The Evolution of Interactive Media

Want to learn more about interactive media? Contact us about Aurora.

——————

On day 3 of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, onlookers were captivated by a computer-generated recreation of Tupac Shakur to perform with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The animation used projection mapping in combination with a theatrical technique called “Pepper’s Ghost” to create a 3D holographic effect. The project employed a team of 20 artists, lighting designers, and technicians to create an unexpected, immersive audience experience.

Festival season is upon us, and with it comes more opportunities to showcase and explore interactive media. From music, to performance art, to technology-based installations, the event lead-up is a full-time engagement for artists, technologists, and festival organizers seeking to stand out in what has become a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. Technology has hugely influenced festivals’ ability to engage audiences with interactive media. Where has this attraction for interactive and technology-driven media come from, and how is it impacting other public spaces?

 

Computer mapped Tupac

Virtual Tupac at Coachella 2012

 

Interactive Media is Not A New Concept

Technological developments of the last half-century have breathed a new novelty into the concept of interactivity. Physically and emotionally participating in entertainment, which was the norm, became less common after the relatively recent advent of “passive” entertainment, like television and cinema.

 

“The reason we suddenly need such a word [as interactivity] is that during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television.

Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theater, music sport — the performers and audience were together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for.

We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.”

—Douglas Adams, How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

 

Technology moved us away from interactive media, and ironically, technology is orienting us back to those original values when it comes to art and leisure—perhaps in an even bigger way than before TV. As much as technology has the power to isolate us, interactive media today is also more accessible, more invigorating on a multisensory level, and more likely to establish a genuine human connection than ever before.

 

Technology Has Revitalized Interactive Media

Using technology to create new forms of interactive media goes back to the mid-20th century. In the 1950s and 60s, Morton Leonard Heilig was one of the first to create VR in response to the passive experience of cinema.

 

“Without the active participation of a spectator, there can be no transfer of consciousness, no art.”

—Morton Leonard Heilig

 

Sensorama, which was patented in 1962, was a prototype for what he imagined would become “experience theatre.” It combined a stereoscopic 3D colour display, stereo sound, fans, olfactory dispensers, and tilted, vibrational seating to provide single viewers with a multisensory experience over the course of a short film. Heilig was unable to find funding to get Sensorama to industry players, and the project dissolved.

 

virtual reality sensorama Morton heeling

Morton Heilig’s Sensorama

 

7 years later, Myron Krueger developed one of the earliest forms of computer-based interactive art. Glowflow was first installed at the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union Gallery. Pressure-sensitive pads were activated by viewers’ footsteps, triggering a real-time visual response from phosphorescent tubes and aural response from a Moog synthesizer. Glowflow was one of such interactive environments that lead to Krueger’s cornerstone project, Videoplace, in 1988. Videoplace is an artificial reality laboratory that creates reactionary light art out of viewers’ motion.

Much of Krueger’s work was motivated by a desire to redesign computers by addressing features that take away from an inherent human desire to connect and interact.

 

“There were things I resented about computers. I resented the fact that I had to sit down to use them. I resented the fact that I was using a hundred-year-old device to operate them—a keyboard—and the fact…that it was denying that I had a body of any kind, and that it was all perceptual, sort of, symbolic.”

—Myron Krueger

 

interactive media virtual reality Myron Krueger

Myron Krueger’s Videoplace

 

Krueger modeled Videoplace after the relationship that artists and musicians have with their tools, seeking to create a type of computer that people could experience rather than use for the sole purpose of efficiency. The first rendition of Videoplace superimposed Krueger’s hand-drawn data tablet doodles onto a screen in the Memorial Union Gallery a mile away. The doodles would appear to interact with viewers’ shadows, which were also projected onto the screen in real-time. Almost by accident, Krueger noticed that viewers were most engaged when their motion appeared to create the doodles.

 

“We discovered that there was this very natural desire to identify with the image on the screen. Their image was them, and they expected it to do things in the video world as much as it did in the physical world. It was as if evolution had prepared us for seeing ourselves on television screens combined with computer images.”

 

Suddenly, here was a real, tangible example of how technology had the potential to bring human connection full-circle—back to what interactive media had done for us prior to the age of passive media. From VR to public art, interactive media has come a long way since Videoplace.

 

Burning Man: A Lasting Example Interactive Media’s “Rebirth”

Unlike static art, interactive media is unique by involving the viewer in its creation, forming a platform for human connection and community. Passive media is presented with the intention of presenting audiences with a static piece to derive meaning from, rather than involving their participation in the media’s creation and forming a community from that involvement. A good example of the rebirth of interactive media, especially as it relates to the growth of art festivals, is Burning Man.

On June 22, 1986, Larry Harvey and Jerry James built an 8-foot human figure out of scrap wood in their Noe Valley basement. They hauled the wooden man down to Baker Beach and quickly drew an audience of close to 40 people as flames engulfed the figure. Before you could say gasoline, the spontaneous hootenanny was singing a fire-themed tune on the fly, and a woman was literally hand-in-hand with the pyro-masterpiece.

 

“That was the first spontaneous performance…that was the first geometric increase of Burning Man. What we had instantly created was a community. And…you know if we had done it as an art event, people would have come, and come to the gallery or something, and said ‘It’s very interesting, perhaps a little derivative, what are you going to do next?’”

—Lee Harvey

 

The festival has since grown into a 70,000-person gathering based on the values of immediacy, participation, communal effort, radical self-expression and self-reliance, egalitarianism, and creativity—so unsurprisingly, the festival has become a global platform for the convergence of art and innovative interactive media, informing values within the tech industry (and perhaps vice versa). What began as a novel concept associated with underground movements became its own city with the power to impact the culture and values behind one of North America’s largest industries.

 

 

Interactive Media’s Impact

Aside from influential Burners taking those core values back to the office after Labour Day each year, the impact of cultural phenomena like Burning Man has been a driving force behind the evolution of interactive media. Interactive media has re-infiltrated mainstream society, evolving in just a few decades from what was once associated with counterculture and festivals or niche, university-affiliated galleries like Videoplace.

Interactive technology and art are increasingly incorporated into civic space and public institutions like art galleries, science centres, shopping malls, and schools. Those behind designing and coordinating these spaces are realizing the advantage that interactivity has over passive forms of media in community building and increasing a return audience. Growing public values in interactive media are also expanding the tech industry, leveraging advances in interactive technologies like wearable tech, sound-to-light mapping, motion-tracking, VR and AI.

 

interactive public art

Montréal’s Impulsedezeen.com photo

 

Passive media is still the norm for a culture built on Netflix. But the values behind traditional forms of interactive media has been experiencing a rebirth over the last few decades, thanks to innovators like Myron Krueger and events like Burning Man—and the technology behind our ability to realize those values is growing every day.

An Interactive Lighting Case Study with Aurora

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

Real estate developers often invest in hoardings for big projects—on-site marketing signage that describes future developments. As opposed to online, radio, and print ads, hoardings are highly cost-effective marketing investments for developers, providing large-scale project awareness 24/7. Vancouver-based developer Belford Properties took their hoarding for Sun Towers Metrotown to the next level. Faced with the challenge of promoting Sun Towers while building long-term community relationships throughout the development, Belford partnered with a local organization and turned the hoarding into an interactive public art display.

The result was a 30×170-foot billboard combining community art with interactive technology. The billboard transformed public space across from BC’s largest shopping centre, Metropolis at Metrotown, into an interactive boulevard. The Metrotown project inspired Limbic Media’s Interactive Art Wall concept, an engaging art installation with multiple applications for civic space, retail and holiday displays, and any organization looking to increase ROI through public engagement and community placemaking. This week, we are taking you through Limbic Media’s process for this project, from the initial collaboration and concept to the final installation.

 

 

A Concept for Community Building

 

“If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.”

 

This is the proverb that initially inspired Belford to collaborate with Burnaby Neighbourhood House, a volunteer-driven social service agency. BNH supports programs and services that address local community needs. Understanding that youth have an enormous impact on community futures, the two organizations joined forces to support youth art education over the course of Belford’s 3-year development.

 

“Belford believes that youth can have a huge impact on community, helping to shape the future with new ideas through education and art. An investment in youth and education is much more rewarding than one can imagine, especially in the community that they grow up in. That type of investment is something we keenly sought out, hoping to work with an organization that places such an importance on education and art with children in the neighbourhood. We found that organization, Burnaby Neighbourhood House, and let the kids do their thing.”

—Belford Properties

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study Public Art

 

Their vision resulted in a public art concept surrounding the theme of rain + sunshine = growth to encourage yearly donations to BNH’s youth art programs. The 3-year project has three phases: the first, inspired by Greater Vancouver’s notoriously heavy rainfall, features umbrellas and rainbows. The second phase, scheduled for Spring 2019, features sunshine-themed drawings, and the third will display the fruits of that nourishment—growing flowers, bees, and nature. BNH and Belford commissioned art for the first phase to children currently in BNH arts programs. Their pieces were then scaled to fit the hoarding.

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

Interactive public art not only fosters a sense of community and placemaking, but also increases brand awareness, foot traffic, public safety in surrounding areas, and overall ROI. Hangar 18, the project’s design and branding consultant, reached out to us to create an interactive lighting component for the billboard.

 

Designing and Integrating the Aurora Platform

Limbic Media’s role was to design the lighting component of the installation and integrate an Aurora system with a coin box to allow for donations. The vision was to literally “make it rain” when coins are inserted, offering passers-by a lightshow in exchange for their donations. Limbic Media used Hangar 18’s concept drawing as a template for the lighting design.

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

Our team at Limbic Media was responsible for designing the layout of Minleon Pebble Light strands over the concept art, spec out project requirements, and do custom programming to evoke rainfall and rainbow effects. The project required 61 light strands of various lengths, totaling 2,075 pebble lights. Projects of this scale require multiple Network Distribution Boxes (NDBs) along with a network switch to effectively supply power and data from Aurora across all the lights. The next step was to parse the billboard’s light strands into 9 sections; one section of light strands for each NDB. Because all the technical components would be hidden behind the billboard, the project also required leader cables of various lengths to connect the beginning of each light strand with its respective NDB.

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

The Interactive Art Wall was Limbic Media’s first time integrating Aurora with a coin box. Our lead design engineer created a new Aurora pattern to achieve a rainfall effect for the pebble lights. The coin box was then integrated with its own microcontroller, programmed to speak to Aurora: in resting mode, Aurora tells the light strands to evoke a subtle version of the rainfall pattern. When coins are donated to the box, it triggers an algorithm that intensifies the rainfall pattern’s brightness and speed, slowly diminishing until the the more subtle resting pattern is achieved.

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

Limbic Media’s design process was a team effort, involving sales staff, engineers, and a technical lead to spec out and price the project—all while liaising with Hangar 18 and Belford to meet the project’s vision and timeline. Once the installation was set up at Limbic Media and passed for QA, we sent the equipment with our lead design engineer to oversee and support the onsite installation process alongside Belford, and make final tweaks to the project’s custom programming.

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

Project Outcomes

The Interactive Art Wall was a huge success as an alternative to the average hoarding. Unlike a regular marketing billboard, the display’s interactivity increased a community-building ROI in addition to potential monetary gains. Lighting and interactivity leveraged Belford’s marketing for the Sun Towers development by encouraging public participation in the display and also increased awareness of BNH and their impact on community initiatives. By providing an opportunity for hashtags and social media engagement, the interactive display created an additional marketing tool for both Belford and BNH. The interactive hoarding captured Belford’s vision as a developer that is mindful of its surrounding community and involved in its long-term, people-based goals.

 

“With the addition of these beautifully installed LED lights around the drawings on the wall, we are able to raise public awareness not only in the daytime but also attract lots of attention at night. Our Art Wall has soon become a popular sight visiting point in the area which gives us chances to interact with the public. The lights are one of the key elements in this charity fundraising event. On behalf of Belford Properties, we are very pleased with how the addition of the lighting has attracted a tremendous amount of attention to our Charity Art Wall project.”

—Chris Ba, Belford Properties

 

Providing a reward for donations to the initiative in the form of a light show also piqued public interest from passers-by in a way that stand-alone donations boxes can’t. The hoarding brightened the thoroughfare at Beresford Street, potentially increasing return foot traffic to the area. Overall, interactivity at the Metrotown installation played a crucial role in placemaking and fostering community development out of what would otherwise remain a typical urban development on an ordinary roadway. If you find yourself near Metrotown Station over the next few years, check out the installation, make a donation, and be sure to share your interaction on social media with #celebratebby.

 

Interactive Lighting Case Study

 

The Interactive Art Wall concept has potential across multiple applications. Light fixture styles and custom patterns can be adapted for unique themes and mounted against a variety of backdrops and settings. If you are interested in combining interactivity with a similar concept or initiative, contact us today to brainstorm ideas.

 

Photos by Mandy Jin at WeTopia.

CASC 2018 Conference: LHULH’UTS’UT’EN

Representatives from Canadian science centres and museums came together last week to embody LHULH’UTS’UT’EN—working together—at this year’s Canadian Association of Science Centres‘ 2018 conference. CASC attendees came to Prince George this year to seek inspiration, network, and learn about the challenges facing science centres and museums across the country.

Limbic Media’s Marketing Associate, Deanna Foster, and Lead Design Engineer, Gabrielle Odowichuk, attended the event with an Aurora Jam Tent (check out our Aurora Jam Tent video from Tectoria 2018). Here are a few highlights from their time up north.

 

CASC 2018 Conference

 

Welcome Reception

This year’s CASC attendees had a chance to be kids again in the Two Rivers Art Gallery’s Maker Space. Activities ranged from felting, to learning code, to traditional Lheidli T’enneh wood carving. Participants also enjoyed traditional drumming by the talented Khast’an drummers. Check them out for a truly mesmerizing show!

 

CASC 2018 Conference

 

The Way-Late Play Date

Clad in their finest plaid, CASC-goers were invited to eat, drink and wield some good ‘ol saws and axes. Logger sports and a relay race kicked off the night, followed by dancing and Northern BC’s finest brews. The Exploration Place provided an interactive setting to network and learn about industry trends and challenges. Highlight of the evening? Chocolate-covered bacon.

 

CASC 2018 Conference

 

The Exhibitors

Limbic Media’s Jam Tent, an Aurora-lit enclosure filled with musical instruments, was among a variety of science and museum exhibitors. Little Ray’s Nature Centres (aka. Average-sized Ray’s Nature Centres) provides permanent and traveling hands-on, zoological education exhibits. Sadly, Shane from Little Ray’s was unable to bring a sloth to CASC—but here’s hoping for next year.

Big shoutout to Pathfinders Designs, who was a huge help in Limbic Media’s Jam Tent setup. Pathfinders, based on Vancouver Island, designs and creates wooden science kits.

 

CASC 2018 Conference

 

CASC 2018 was an exciting reminder of the open-mindedness and innovative thinking of Canada’s industry leaders in science centres and museums. Each attendee left with new connections and inspiring ideas for their home audiences. We had a lot of fun seeing everyone have jam time in our Aurora Jam Tent, and hope to see sound-to-light interactivity infiltrating more science centres and museums across the country in the next year!

 

CASC 2018 Aurora sound-to-light engine reacting to music

 

Contact us today to plan a Jam Tent for your next event!

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