10 March 2013

Fish Bellies Lights Up Texas

There is only one thing better than interactive art, in my opinion: interactive art that lights up. Blessing Hancock and Joe O’Connell, an artistic duo based in Tuscon, Arizona have recently given the students of Texas State University a very large toy with which to play. As well as being a serious piece of art with an equally serious message it looks like great fun too.

Fish Bellies as the installation has been christened is created from a series of bolted acrylic sheets sculpted together to form a large biomorphic form. O’Connell and Hancock drew their inspiration from the nearby San Marcos River. The waterway is host to great biological diversity and the installation draws parallels between the life aquatic and the life academic.

Any and every university should be teeming with a miscellaneous not to mention motley student body in order to thrive and survive. And, of course, we all know that students can be different creatures when the sun goes down. Fish Bellies may look like a simple school of fish in the day time but when the evening draws in it is transformed in to a bioluminescent landscape.

That’s when the fun begins. O’Connell and Hancock have fitted the installation with touch sensitive technology. The students are able to control the internal LED structure by adjusting Fish Bellies’ color spectrum. In as much as it is meant to spark interest in the distinctive ecology and biology of the San Marcos River, I am fairly sure it has earned any number of positive expressive comments in its own right.