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.
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.