creating precision light and control


Shoal is an intelligent low power LED light based artwork that responds to its context through direct and ambient environmental inputs. The result is an artwork that is effervescent, ever changing and full of expression and personality.
The behaviour of each light is influenced by internal and external sound, air pressure, ambient temperature, wind speed and direction. These inputs generate the variables that control the artwork and a complex and organic lighting effect appears across the building.
We developed a project specific computer controller that created the relationships between external inputs, the quasi-intelligent virtual shoal and the resulting light display. The control system maps a cartesian 2d space - the ‘light critters’ world - and their behaviour onto the installed lights. The artwork is always a product of what is happening at that moment. Commissioned by Land Securities Plc.

St David’s Shopping Centre Cardiff, Wales

key technical information
Project Challenges:
The Shoal Rule Orientated Behaviour
Birth rate:
Dictated by acoustic activity, each sound input births a virtual fish into the tank.

Individual behaviour:
Influenced by the group and by environmental inputs from a small weather station.

External sound inputs:
Progressively trigger all of the lights - the more sound outside the brighter the entire array.

Wind inputs:
Push the shoal around the facade at the relative velocity and direction.

The hotter the weather:
The paler the ‘light critters’ become and the more likely it is they will follow each other.

The colder the weather:
The stronger the colour of the ‘light critters’and the more they seek each other out.