‘I’m Laughing at Clouds’ is an interactive lighting installation by artist Michael Pinsky, fabricated by The Light Lab & Mesh Creative.
I’m Laughing at Clouds, commissioned by Anglia Ruskin University for the courtyard of the new Young Street Buildings in Cambridge, is an ensemble of nine tactile columns, which detect the heartbeat of participants and convert their systolic readings into a composition of light and sound.
I’m Laughing at Clouds modifies public lighting to make it react to the individual. By touching sensors embedded in the lighting columns, the passerby creates a composition of light and sound. The lampposts are programmed to respond to the human touch and record the frequency of the person’s heartbeat. This data is presented through the illumination of the columns and through samples of children’s voices. Simple sung notes have been recorded from children attending Brunswick Nursery School. As visitors touch the sensors a child’s voice sings a note, then at the point the heartbeat is registered the note follows the rhythm of the heartbeat. Both the illumination and the sound gets progressively softer until they both drift away completely, only to be reignited by the sensor being touched again.