Multiverse, the largest and most complex light sculpture created by American artist Leo Villareal, may be seen and experienced by visitors as they pass through the Concourse walkway between the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. Commissioned by the Gallery and on view until November 2009, the work features approximately 41,000 computer-programmed LED (light-emitting diode) nodes that run through channels along the entire 200-foot-long space. The development of this LED project began in 2005, and the installation created by Villareal specifically for this location began in September 2008.  Here are some more great pictures of this exhibit.

Min_dc_led_light1Throughout the last four decades, a growing number of artists have explored the use of light to frame and create spaces in the built environment. These include Dan Flavin's space-defining fluorescent light sculptures, James Turrell's color-saturated voids, Jenny Holzer's LED-generated texts, and Felix Gonzales-Torres' strings of lightbulbs. While Villareal's art acknowledges these artistic forbearers, his concepts relate most closely to the instructional wall drawings of Sol LeWitt and the systems of Peter Halley's paintings.

Villareal's work features movement and light, qualities that make this installation particularly well-suited for the Gallery's underground walkway, an area through which thousands of people pass daily. Once the appropriate hardware was installed in the existing architecture, the artist programmed sequences through his custom-designed software to create abstract configurations of light. His programming both instructs the lights and allows for an element of chance. While it is possible that a pattern will repeat during a viewer's experience, it is highly unlikely. Still, the eye will seek patterns in the motion, a perceptual effect of the hypnotic trailing lights.

Born in 1967 in Albuquerque, NM, Villareal began experimenting with light, sound, and video while studying set design and sculpture at Yale University, where he received his BA. He earned his MPS in the design of new media, computational media, and embedded computing from New York University's pioneering interactive telecommunications program at the Tisch School of the Arts. He also learned the programming skills that enable him to push LED technology far past familiar commercial applications.

Based in New York, Villareal has been included in solo and group exhibitions, and has made numerous site-specific commissions throughout the world, at major cultural institutions such as P.S.1 MoMA, New York; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS.

What drew you to working with light?

I was working with technology and programming doing virtual reality research and I had this moment when I realized that I could make an interesting work of art with a small amount of information. Light allowed me to visually manifest the code I was writing and I wouldn’t have to work on a screen — there was no computer screen or projector.

What are some of the ideas and themes that your work engages with?

I’m very interested in rules and underlying structures, which all tie in with the code I’m writing. There are things in nature that inspire me, like wave patterns or natural systems that at first glance appear to be very complex, but when I study them further there are simple rules that govern them. That’s what I try to get at in my code — building simple rules that refer to some of these ideas. Laws are another thing I’ve been working on lately. I’m not a physicist, but I use rules to create software and in the software I’m able to play with parameters like gravity, velocity, friction. I’m able to use these parameters and access them as an artist and see what compelling things result.

click here for rest of interview


The Evolux

Evolux LED Light Bulb

This Evolux 13 watt bulb produces 1075 lumens of light, which is equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent. Very bright!  

http://www.LEDinsider will be releasing the Evolux  in 2009.  Evolux is a product of Advanced Lumonics, LLC

US Lighting Industry Statistics
Just how big is the US lighting industry? Well, here are some interesting facts:

* There are approximately 4 billion light bulb sockets in the US. This includes both residential and commercial.

* Of the 2 billion residential sockets in the US, only about 10% are compact fluorescent.

* The US purchases about 2 billion residential light bulbs a year or about 5.5 million bulbs a day.

* The average US house has 45 bulbs in 30 fixtures, there are 116.9 million US households. (2006)

* The US spends approximately $71 billion a year in electricity on lighting. That is 22% of the total US electricity bill. (2006)

* The average US electric rate is $0.1008 / kWh or about 1o cents. (2006)

* Average US household use for lighting: 1950 kWh per household (2002)

* Philips passed GE as the largest US light bulb manufacturer with it’s November 26th 2007 purchase of Genlyte. Prior to that GE, a company founded by Thomas Edison in the 1800’s, was the largest manufacturer of light bulbs.

* Philips has announced that they will phase out the manufacturing of incandescent light bulbs by 2016. The first large lighting manufacturer in North America to support the shift to more efficient lighting technologies. (2007)

* In California, an estimated 73 million incandescent light bulbs and 6 million compact fluorescent are sold each year. (2007)

These facts are compiles from various sources including the Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Philips.