Recently I had the opportunity to work with the talented sense-based experience maker and artist Emilie Baltz to develop some work for an interactive dinner party at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art that played on participants’ perception of taste through the manipulation of their other senses. The party consisted of several completely unique rooms, each with a different experience centered around a particular sense.
One such room was the “Sight” room, in which five coffee tables made of ice were constructed and illuminated using custom LED lighting, programmed to slowly fade out over the course of the meal. My responsibilities included fabricating, installing and maintaining these lighting systems.
For each of the five tables I used two meters of NeoPixel LED strips, one Adafruit Pro Trinket and a 5V/10A power supply, along with a few small bits and pieces like power jacks and quick-connect cables. Each of the systems were programmed to fade the LEDs slowly from full-white to off over the course of about 20 minutes so that guests would have a subtle visual cue that their meal was wrapping up.
Each two meter strip of lights was attached to a wooden pole and placed inside a frosted and masked acrylic tube to diffusely illuminate the ice block while being completely hidden from the guests. This allowed guests to not only view the illuminated ice block from multiple angles, but also to peer through the ice and watch as beads of water periodically dropped into the dark basin below.