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featured project: the eyes of ballston (the forest of knowledge)

interactive public art  / storyteller,  designer


I designed this interactive place-making experience for the Ballston Public Display of Innovation exhibition. Though technology, this experience instigated communication, conversation and discovery with flora taken for granted in public spaces.  It beckoned the user to discover if there was more to a place or a thing than they ever realized. 

The experience was created in a busy public square which had a tree in the center.  
I designed an experience of sixteen, 4' wide sculptural eyes that could emote with LED designs amidst the leafy branches of a tree. Using a connected mobile web application, participants would to log into the Eyes app from their personal devices and respond to questions from the tree. Upon submitting an answer, the eyes would "emote" back with colorful visual communication. The ongoing Q&A style conversation between the user and the tree revealed the story of each soul that was awakened and created emotional connection between the person and the tree.  Depending on personalities and amount of people engaging, up to 5 souls could be revealed and awakened from the tree at once- The Flirt, The Baby, The Elder, The Raver, The Grump. Each soul was designed with distinct personalities, visual representation and circadian rhythms. 

The eyes were a collaboration by the Illumination Coalition consisting of myself (writer, designer), Bardia Jaan (producer), Adam Eig (welder) and Branden Hall (developer). This temporary project also enjoyed re-installation in the contemporary gallery at the Artisphere, in Rosslyn, VA. 


Public Displays of Innovation, won a Merit Award in the 2015 Downtown Achievement Awards from the International Downtown Association.



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