Lights over English Bay to be controlled by visitors to internet site during Olympics

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Beams of light pointed towards the stars will illuminate English Bay and the night sky in downtown Vancouver this coming February as part of a Cultural Olympiad and City of Vancouver special event for the 2010 Winter Games.  And visitors to a special website will be able to design how the lights will move, their angles and how they are clustered in timed sequences to create their own patterns for the world to see.

Starting at dusk on February 4, 2010, 20 robotic searchlights will create a canopy of light in the night sky above and on the surface of English Bay below with designs created by people around the world and delivered via the Internet. Called Vectorial Elevation, it is the first time this work of art will be displayed in Canada and over a body of water.  The installation – considered one of the world’s largest interactive artworks – is by Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and is part of CODE, the Cultural Olympiad’s Digital Edition.

The 10,000-watt lights will move and create patterns silently from locations in Vanier Park and Sunset Beach that cover an area of 100,000 square metres and be visible within 15 kilometres of the city’s downtown core, stretching to Richmond, Cypress and Grouse mountains and freighters and boats on the water.

Vectorial Vancouver
Artist rendering of the lights over English Bay as part of Vectorial Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics

Visitors to can design their own light show. A personalized webpage will be automatically created for each participant to document their design. Organizers estimate 130,000 different patterns will be created in the 24 days the project operates from dusk to dawn.

“Lozano-Hemmer’s inspired work manifests the spirit of connectivity that we want to convey through the entire CODE project. It’s about using the power of digital technology to include the world in our celebrations,” said Burke Taylor, vice president of culture and celebrations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

A real-time video stream of the work from four cameras placed around English Bay can be accessed on the Internet. Those who opt to create patterns can also send a personal dedication to friends or a sweetheart anywhere in the world at The project was developed in consultation with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

“Vectorial Elevation is a quiet, contemplative display of light sculptures that will connect many countries around the world with Vancouver. When I saw English Bay I knew it would be the perfect spot to create our largest canopy of light to date and for the first time we are also able to use renewable energy,” said Montreal-based Lozano-Hemmer.

Previously, the installation was staged in Mexico, Spain, Ireland, and France where it received accolades such as Lyon’s prestigious Trophée des Lumières.

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