Brush With Illumination is an interactive sculpture that also functions as a data-gathering apparatus, drawing ideograms and sounds generated from real time environmental conditions. The sculpture suggests a calligraphy brush, responding kinetically to real time tidal and weather conditions, in False Creek, Vancouver B.C. Canada. The sculpture was commissioned by the Vancouver Public Art Program in 1994, installed in 1998 and upgraded in 2009.
The sculpture consists of an armature of stainless steel pipe that rests on a gimbal atop a pile driven in False Creek. The gimbal enables the sculpture to rotate and rock unrestricted to tidal, waves and wind conditions. The armature connects two four-foot spheres with a three-point "finger cradle" connection at the brush ferrule. The spheres provide both buoyancy and counterweight to the "brush" as it cantilevers on top of the piling, responding to environmental changes.
The brush, approximately 10.7 meters in length, consists of a handle, a ferrule and a cursor. The handle consists of an array of solar panels, which form the handle and provide power to batteries in the ferrule. Within the ferrule, the batteries power data-accessing sensors, processors, and transmitters sending data. Transmitters send ASCII data and video to a land-based receiver and from there onto the Internet. The ferrule connects the photovoltaic handle and the 1.5 meters long illuminated cursor. At night, the cursor flashes as if a beacon, the code of the ASCII data, streaming environmental conditions from False Creek. The brush appears as a technical apparatus gathering an "inkwell of data." A plaque at the viewing station onshore offers the web site address for accessing this data and the resulting visual and audio abstractions via the internet, either by mobile phone or computer. The data is transformed into a live visual and sound logic score based on the lunar calendar. The web site provides a dynamic and enjoyable audio and visual "screen saver/wallpaper."
Design/Technical Team 2009: Buster Simpson, Bryan Newson, Scott Massey, Fabrication Specialties, Norman Courtney, Scott Newell, Dale Stammen, Randy Jones, Andy Schloss, Todd Metten, Kevin Spitzer, Graham Stachowiak.