Transforming spaces with public art

The Challenge

In 2012 a former dining area of the University of Maine’s Orono campus was radically transformed into the Stewart New Media Center/Art Complex, a 33,000 square foot structure housing the New Media Innovation, Research and Development Center. The Maine Arts Commission called for artists to submit proposals to create artwork for the public areas of the new complex. We wanted to come up with a beautiful interactive installation that would reflect the facility’s function as a center of art, design, and innovation.

The Solution

We created Fireflies, a touch-enabled light display. Our proposed installation had two central elements: a field of fibre optic cables suspended from the ceiling, and an accompanying video wall. The lighted tips of the cables change their luminosity or color when they detect motion, creating the effect of a field of shimmering stars in the night sky. The video wall displays a live, abstracted image of anyone walking under the cables. The live video animation and the suspended cables together create an interactive artwork that comes alive when it senses company. The unknowing participation of the passerby changes the otherwise static area into a dynamic, ever changing space.

Partnerships & Community

Fireflies was a finalist for the Percent for Art Program for the Stewart New Media / Art Complex.

Commissioning Partner

Maine Percent For Arts


Concept Design, Physical Design, Technical Development


March 2013