Light Organ – A Permanent Art Installation

Light Organ Pipes

Light Organ Pipes

As a consultant for Harries Heder Architects, I designed hardware and software for an installation officially titled “Terpsichore for Kansas City”, this public art installation transforms the parking garage of the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (Kansas City, MO) into an instrument of light and sound, a complementary venue to the performances at the Center. The artwork extends throughout the entire space of this thousand car, four-story garage.

The main feature is The Light Organ, a vertical sculpture of light and sound, penetrating through the stairwell of the garage. LED’s within the pipes produce white and blue light to create patterns in different rhythms and intensities. These patterns choreograph sound compositions playing in the stairwell.

Sound from 112 speakers, activated by motion sensors, also plays all through the garage for people to experience as they move in the space. Composers David Moulton, Roberta Vacca, and Kansas City’s own Bobby Watson were commissioned to create the sound works for this project.

Light Organ Interface

Light Organ Interface

Specifications for the software were demanding. Not only did the light tubes and speaker arrays need to be driven reliably, there also had to be a user-friendly way for future artists to develop content remotely. I created a content editor that allows composers to see a simulation of the installation while they compose their projects in real time. as well as a content scheduler, and specialized software to drive sensors, LEDs, 20 track audio, and other hardware.

I selected devices, designed wiring and climate control systems, and developed sensor arrays to detect speed and direction of movement throughout the building. The system has built-in diagnostics and trouble-recovery routines designed to keep it running reliably.

More details about this project are available on the Harries Heder website, or on the Projects page of Cycling ’74.

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Slideshow Patch for Max/MSP

I put together a handy patch that turns Max/MSP into a simple digital signage system. This patch can be compiled as a standalone application, allowing any computer to play back a folder of images. When the folder is changed, the presentation is immediately updated. Combined with the soon-to-be-released parametric scheduler patch, this will make a complete digital signage solution. If you are a Max programmer, you can contribute your thought/questions about this via this thread at Cycling ’74.

3viewer.maxpat

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Animation for Boston POPS

MBTA-trains
Trolley-Front-Rollsign

Boston’s Symphony Hall has been outfitted with a wonderful projection screen that rolls down over the organ pipes. I created animation sequences to be shown on the screen for this years Boston Pops orchestra celebration with special guest John Williams. The orchestra plays the famous folk song “Charlie on the MTA” as Keith Lockhart finds his way through Boston’s subway system (now called the MBTA, or the T for short). I was excited to design these because I have always been interested in buses, trolleys, and trains. I designed a few animations that present the lyrics for sing along verses in a creative, fun way.

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Scientific illustration for print materials

NOVA - "Cracking the Code of Life" Poster

NOVA - "Cracking the Code of Life" Poster

As an employee of WGBH Matt created many science-themed 3D renderings. This example was created for a poster promoting an episode of the PBS science series NOVA entitled “Cracking the Code of Life”. The scene was then re rendered for use in a bookmark and as a general use promotional image. 3D modeling software is quite well suited for projects like this because a 3D scene can be re purposed for a variety of print materials by changing the camera vantage point or rearranging objects in 3D space to make a new composition without lots of additional work

NOVA Themed City Bus

NOVA Themed City Bus

Matt’s scientific renderings have been featured on the giant “Digital Mural” overlooking the Massachusetts Turnpike, and have decorated city buses, among many other places. More scientific visualizations can be seen in the Fastmodel Portfolio.

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Product Illustration and Animation for AtomicUSA

Atomic Nomad Ski

Atomic Boots and Binding

Atomic Boots and Binding

Atomic is a top brand of skis, boots, bindings, and many other sporting goods. For years, Matt Harter and Bruce Walker have been creating animation sequences for AtomicUSA that demonstrate new technology and features in the upcoming product line. The 3D models are created and textured in Lightwave 3D by Matt Harter. The geometry is generated by measuring the actual products, and the textures are a combination of logo artwork and retouched photographs. Bruce Walker does the post production and animation in Adobe After Effects.

Take a look at more renderings and animations in the Fastmodel Portfolio

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Custom maps for for Fetch!

Fetch Colorado Map

Fetch Colorado Map

The popular PBS program “Fetch!” needed simplified maps created for use as props. Since the maps had to be readable on television, and featured unique points of interest, they had to be custom designed. I took on the challenge, and it was a very interesting project!

Even though each of the maps had fictional elements, they were all based on real geographical features like coastlines, topography, rivers, and roads. This was an issue because most commercial maps do not have the detail required for the small-scale rural areas depicted, and they would be too expensive for the limited budget available anyway. My solution was to use professional map-making software to manipulate freely available data, then export it into a graphics application where it could be cleaned up visually. The final product turned out to be well suited for its purpose, and several teams set out on a scavenger hunt using the maps as a guide.

Fetch Key Map

Fetch Key Map

The first map illustrates a network of hiking trails along the continental divide in Colorado. The second map features an area of the Florida keys, with points of interest on land and on/under water.

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Antiques Roadshow 3D graphics

3/4 view of Antiques trunk

The popular PBS show Antiques Roadshow needed an updated look for it’s well known trunk icon. Bruce Walker – a motion graphics designer – and I developed an updated version of the well-known Antiques Roadshow trunk. We also created several animations for the series open, as well as still renderings for print materials, and web graphics.
Over the years I have created several other graphic elements for this wonderful series, and I have also worked on their photo databases using Filemaker software.

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