Starting tomorrow night, the one thousand light bulbs on The Light Of Human Kindness Project on Cary St. will begin to illuminate. Laced semi-strategically throughout the gorgeous and bright mural, theses LEDs won’t be coming on at random, even though they may appear to do so.
That’s where you come in.
Patience Salgado’s vision for the project concludes with an interactive light show of sorts, installed and controlled by Richmond advertising giant The Martin Agency. Each time someone visits the project’s website and anonymously shares a personal encounter with human kindness (much like the stories now posted on the wall), a light will illuminate.
The system is controlled by two separate hubs,each managing five hundred lights a piece (which is a lot if you happen to be an illumination buff) controlled by one laptop (which is not a lot.) Jeff MacDonald, a Creative Technologist with The Martin Agency informed me that he expects thousands of people to submit to the site. Hopefully, submissions will come in rapidly, brightening certain lights just as rapidly, which is very neat. Not only will the lights illuminating the already glowing wall be triggered by stories human kindness, but the stories will also cause their glow to be brighter and brighter.
When asked to describe the project in once sentence, MacDonald told me “I’m still trying to work that out myself”, which I can certainly relate to, having to coin a description for something that really is so much more than one thing. “To me, it’s community-conscious art”. The project’s website describes it (in one sentence) as “an interactive mural in RVA that explores what happens when art, technology and kindness come together to illuminate the power of human connection.”
Part of getting the community even more involved in the “community consciousness” also include interactive parts of the light display. Along the walls, small heart-shaped points will act as a conduit for people to alter the light display. If you touch one spot, the lights change, but if you touch 2 spots, or 3, at the same time, the light pattern is altered further. “You’re gonna have to introduce yourself to a stranger,” said MacDonald.
One of the touch sensitive hearts
As many know, the wall itself is plastered with hundreds of anecdotes of people being good to people, which we really could always use more of. Then local artist Hamilton Glass painted a beautiful mural of shape and light atop it, leaving still hundreds of stories to be viewed. It was incredible then, and watching it glow will likely be nothing short of awesome. Knowing why it glows will be the cherry on top, but also the meat of the “community-conscious” portion of the work.