Industrial design company, Amigo and Amigo, has created its third successive Vivid installation at this year’s festival.
Located in First Fleet Park and built in conjunction with engineering partner S1T2, Affinity is a visual representation of the inner workings of the human brain.
With support from Vivid technology partner Intel, the group used a LED lighting and Intel Galileo boards to create an interactive display using over 56 colours, 114 capacitive sensors and 4200 meters of LED strip lighting.
The work was also supported by Alzheimer’s Australia and designed to raise public awareness about Alzheimer’s. This was a very personal matter for S1T2 managing director, Chris Panzetta, who's grandmother had recently been diagnosed with the disease.
Amigo and Amigo managing partner, Simone Chua, spent four months in China working with LED manufacturer, OnLED as part of the project.
The process involved resourcing and producing lighting components while collaborating with the team in Australia. Chua explained the complexity behind the installation.
“We have 70 balls in total and about 48 arms. There are 19 Intel Galileo boards which is the intelligence inside the sculpture that send messages to the main computer when people touch the sculpture,” she said.
“OnLED provided all the engineering support in terms of the lighting, they designed the lighting and wiring scheme. Everything is hidden within the sculpture, we only have one plug in point."
S1T2's Panzetta explained how the technology works.
“There are six sensors on each ball. As you accumulate people working on the ball, the colours cycle through,” he said.
“Each number of inputs has a corresponding colour and it’s different on each ball and each ball has sounds and colours to represent memories.
“The idea is that you want to spread your thoughts around the network, the more hands you have, the stronger weighting is given to your colour and it takes over more of the network.”
Amigo and Amigo managing partner, Renzo B. Larriviere, said the work was inspired by the complexity and the connectivity of the human brain.
“We wanted to make something on a big scale to make it an immersive experience for the public,” he said.
“The key to working with new technologies is knowing their limitations, working to their strengths and not pushing the limitations too much, said Panzetta.
“It’s a chance to express yourself more with a project like this. A lot of the time, when you are working to a client’s brief, you’re dealing with different agendas but this is much more of a creative experiment.”
Chua explained that working on Vivid projects was great from an artist’s standpoint due to the freedom they are allowed.
“You submit your idea and then they leave you alone until you bring it to Vivid. You very much run your own show,” she said.
“For us it is a great chance to see how people interact with our work in real time,” said Larriviere.
Bones in 2013 and Ray in 2014 were the previous Vivid projects Amigo and Amigo created, the latter in conjunction with S1T2. This is the third project the two groups collaborated on.