These Dazzling LED Sculptures Are Like Giant Kinetic Lite-Brites

These Dazzling LED Sculptures Are Like Giant Kinetic Lite-Brites

Artist Jim Campbell has made a career out of tinkering with LED arrays. His newest work, a series of glowing, undulating installations, are a playful mix of circuitry, motion, and pure light that will captivate any onlooker.

Campbell is currently showing his latest work at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in NYC. The show consists of a series of custom-built matrices of LEDs, programmed by Campbell to display patterns and video clips that use the walls and other three dimensional objects to manipulate light. Essentially, what you are looking at is an ultra low-resolution video monitor, with each LED acting as a single pixel.

Campbell, who has a background in electrical engineering and mathematics, is interested in the low-res quality of the displays, and how the information we perceive is altered when the light interacts with the object it hits. In Home Movies, David, a grid of hanging LEDs faces the wall, so that what the viewer sees is only the diffused light bounced back at their eyes. This defocuses the video stream, allowing the imagination to drift as you watch the blurred images.

Other works involve LEDs arranged in topographical maps of varying distances from the wall, creating shifting patterns as you move past them. Campbell is an ardent experimenter, and many of the works in the show are prototypes for possible future public installations, such as the one installed in the San Diego International Airport in 2013.

Campbell's variety of moving images are a testament to the ethereal quality of the visual information we consume. They harken back to the days of film projection, when moving images were experienced as reflected light, rather than emitted light. New technologies can further expand the way we experience light. The glow of Campbell's work is engulfing, and has a way of staying with you.