This art installation aims to raise awareness of campus power usage by animating environmental stress through dynamic elements of light and motion.

Created: October 30th, 2018



Impulse aims to raise awareness of campus energy usage and drive viewers to reduce their energy footprint. The installation continuously receives both campus-wide and building specific energy data and translates it into visually stimulating patterns of light and movement. With a brief introduction, the viewer is able to easily comprehend the trends communicated through the art piece. 



The pulsing of the paper is a physical representation of the campus heartbeat. Under times of high stress, or high energy usage, the rate increases. The frantic movement is meant to be slightly distracting and anxiety-inducing for viewers, which encourages them to lower their energy usage and calm its movement, but it is not distracting to the extent that it causes a disruption in normal activities. If the energy usage is low, the pace slows; under the lowest energy conditions, the paper's motion is nearly imperceptible. The multidimensional motion of the paper is due to the particular folding pattern. When it is stretched laterally, the rectangles bow outwards. 

For the lighting, we shifted away from the standard energy palette of red and green, opting instead for a color palette of gold and purple, using the lights in combination with the motion to communicate energy data. The gold color chosen for low power usage has a warm, calming hue; in contrast, the purple chosen for high power usage is very intense and commands the viewers' attention. The light shifts between these colors as the energy usage fluctuates.  


The light seen on the left-hand side represents energy usage for the specific building on campus where the installation is located. The light on the right-hand side represents overall campus energy usage. The viewer will be able to distinguish between them by the rate of change between the colors, as the energy per building is expected to vary more frequently than campus-wide usage.

Natural elements are represented throughout the installation. The pattern of adjacent rectangles in the shape of the folded paper is reminiscent of the structural arrangement of plant cells, as a nod to preserving nature through green energy usage, and the light colors chosen are common shades among flowers. As previously mentioned, the rhythmic pulsing of the paper is a living motion, such as a heart beating or lungs contracting and expanding.   

Share this Project


48-734 Reactive Spaces and Media Architecture

· 25 members

How can embedded computation change the way we experience our surroundings? This class will focus on the design and prototyping of reactive spaces. Over the course of several small projects and one...more


This art installation aims to raise awareness of campus power usage by animating environmental stress through dynamic elements of light and motion.