ILUME is an interactive art installation composed of eighty incandescent light bulbs that react to sounds. The bulbs hang midair, suspended from the ceiling, making it inviting in a way that the audience feels compelled to come in and play with the installation. Once surrounded by the lamps, it is possible for the visitors to experience the reaction of the lights, which will be affected by the visitors’ sounds.


What have you made?

I built an interactive installation, made out of eighty incandescent light bulbs, which react to sounds, in a way that they produce a visual continuity effect for the sounds generated by the visitors. The lamps hang from the ceiling at different heights and are spread across the installation, enabling the visitors to walk around it and experience the visual effects created by the surrounding lights in an immersive way.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

The initial idea came from experimenting with giving a visual continuity effect to sounds, in a way that it creates a correlation between a sound spectrum and a visual spectrum. My purpose was also to create a sensory experience that would be provoking and inviting, appealing to the audience curiosity to interact with it.
The installation was created to be exhibited at the Mola arts festival that took place in 2016 in a cultural space called Circo Voador, located in the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The festival had considerable numbers of attendees, allowing me to create something focused on a collective interaction, in which more than one person would be able to interact with the installation, and the result of said interaction would be visible enough to draw the attention of others visitors walking by the surroundings of the installation. This instigated a continuous involvement from the visitors.

What is the original idea behind this project?

To create a sensory experience based on the relationship between sound and light.

How does it work?

Everything starts with a directional microphone located in the center of the installation. It captures the surrounding sounds, but due to its location, it also avoids external noises that might change the experience of the person that is interacting with the system. This microphone is connected with a five meters sound cable and said cable is connected to a computer at its other end.
Once it gets to the computer, the sound is received by the software MAX/MSP. After that, the software regulates the sound entry and transmits the data, through serial communication, to Arduino. (This control and serial communication could be achieved with the use of other software, such as Pure Data for example).
After Arduino receives the sound data from the software, it regulates the 8-channel relay module. The controlling is made accordingly to a code containing the programming for visual effects, which commands the 80 lightbulbs. These bulbs are connected by eight cables (10 lamps per cable in parallel), which are directly connected to the 8-channel relay.
The 8-channel relay module acts as a switch for each of the eight cables with the 10 lamps connected to it, triggering the effect of turning the lamps on or off (accordingly with the programming fed to Arduino). The cables are intertwined in a metallic structure that hangs them midair, and they are arranged as a visual and aesthetic composition.

How long did it take to make it real?

Approximately a month.

How did you build it?

1x Arduino Mega 2560 - (controls the 8-channel relay module and receive data from MAX/MSP)
1x 8-channel DC 5V Relay Module - (controls the light cables)

1x Direction shotgun microphone - (capture the sounds from the audience)
1x 5 meters XLR cable - (connects the microphone to the notebook) 
1x Notebook - (receives the sounds and processes the software)
1x Metallic 3 meters by 3 meters square structure (to support the microphone and the lamps)
4x Cables that are strong enough to hold the entire installation. (I used mountaineering cables)
80x light sockets 
80x incandescent light bulbs
200 meters of 5mm cables 
100 meters of pp cables

Arduino (communication: serial port)