- March 12, 2014

A Visit to the SXSW Eco Light Garden


Every evening through Saturday, March 15, 2014, Republic Square transforms into the SXSW Eco Light Garden at dark. Lights projected on the ground make designs for children to dance on, a pianist plays on an LED piano, guests can control the lighting design of some pieces by moving their hand over a sensor, and visitors of all ages can touch an interactive sculpture to make drumming sounds. Swing by one evening to check out this multi-sensory experience! The Light Garden is free and open to the public.

The shapes and colors on this sculpture are made by projected light.

The garden won’t take you long to explore (it may take you longer to find parking, honestly), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. Six illuminated exhibitions are each unique and family friendly. There were plenty of kids there last night, running in the open space and interacting with the pieces.

My personal favorite was a work-in-progress. Amsterdam-based artist Max Zorn started his illuminated plexiglass art, Huckleberry, last Saturday, using only packing tape and a knife. You can see his masterpiece come to life and chat with him while he works in the Light Garden.

A crowd favorite was the piano music filling the park, as a pianist played the Luminescent Grand, the world’s first ever interactive LED grand piano. 

Cathedral of Mathgic is an interactive mathematical musical experience. The center piece is a Frabjous, a polyhedron shape comprised of 30 identical pieces, which come together to create 20 points with 12 sides. 15 of the 20 points are capped with a metal tip which have touch capacitive sensors connected to it, allowing visitors to touch and interact with the sculpture. This sound interactive sculpture features several different soundscapes. Last night, the sculpture made drumming sounds when touched. See a Vine video of the sounds this sculpture made here.

The Light Field is a floating pixel forest made from one hundred wirelessly controlled LED balloons. Colors change as music plays.  You can see a short Vine video of The Light Field here.

When we arrived at 8:15 p.m. last night, a few of the installations were still in the process of being turned on. It wasn’t until a little after 8:30 that everything was fully up and running. Many families had arrived earlier, at dusk, to explore the different installations before the sun set. The Cathedral of Mathgic, in particular, I think would be interesting to see before dark. If you plan to hang around the park awhile, bring some snacks for the kids and have a late-night picnic! 

For more information, visit the SXSW website

Republic Square
4th & Guadalupe
Austin, Texas