Powerline is an audio reactive installation created for OFF:Rooms event, that took place in St. Petersburg on April 22, 2017.


What have you made?

We built Powerline as an audio reactive installation for the OFF:Rooms night event at an abandoned factory on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. The 15-meter installation was located in a darkened empty 100 square meters factory hall and provided a unique hypnotizing and chilling experience for the visitors. Driven by generative beats, this throbbing light sculpture filled the space with electric sparks and buzzes.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

Inspired by the location we reflected on the decay of once powerful and still astonishing Soviet industrial buildings and the latest attempts to spark new life into them. A short circuit is an illustration of how we perceive these relics of our common past.

What is the original idea behind this project?

We were invited to create an artistic installation by the OFF:rooms team (Roots United) for their night event and were looking for an elegant and efficient solution which would fit philosophy and atmosphere of the rave-party at abandoned factory. The settings and history of the building triggered the idea of using electroluminescent wire to visualise “short circuit”.

How does it work?

A set of wires (12 pieces) and drum-machine were both connected to a computer running VVVV patch. We wrote an algorithm that creates rhythmic yet generative and beat patterns for the drum-machine (driven via MIDI). This also controls each wire on/off state. After that, we made a number of tweaks of algorithm parameters to find a necessary balance between structured beat patterns and “chaotic dance of voltaic arc” which was visualized by the wires.

How long did it take to make it real?

The project design took approximately 1.5 weeks. We spent the first week for programming, assembling electronic parts, and making steel frames. Onsite construction was pretty fast thanks to convenient design solution and took about 8-12 hours during next week. Another couple of hours were needed for setup and checks.

How did you build it?

- Arduino UNO board

- Electroluminescent Wires – 220 m.

- A bit of standard electronic components to make proper wire-to-board connection

- 5 steel frames (1.5x2m.) + 1 .5x2m steel frame

- Laptop running VVVV

- On-site found wooden box to place all electronics inside

- Bunch of screws, heat-shrink tubing, and black tape