Vivid: where engineering intersects art Thursday, 06 April 2017

News article written by Corbett Communications. The statements made or opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Engineers Australia.

Now in its eighth year, more than 2.3 million visitors are expected to see Vivid Sydney, the light festival where engineering intersects art and allows ideas from science to cross-pollinate with creativity. While the Vivid festival is still a fairly recent phenomenon, lighting up a city to entertain and amaze the public isn’t new.

It’s more than a century since the 1900 Exposition Universelle was held in Paris, a world fair that celebrated the achievements of the preceding century while accelerating innovation into the next. Nearly 50 million people attended, enjoying the displays of machines and inventions including the ferris wheel, talking films, escalators and the first magnetic audio recorder.

And what powered it all was the Palais de l’Electrique which moderated all of the exhibits including general lighting, lifts and power transmission. Fitted with 5000 multi-coloured incandescent lamps and eight monumental lamps, the palais was a popular exhibition in itself. Heated by boilers, the palais transformed 200,000 litres of water an hour into steam, operating massive engines that produced 40,000 horsepower to light up and power the exposition over the seven months it was open.

At Vivid in Sydney last year, a Guiness World Record was bestowed on the Dress Circle installation for the world’s largest interactive lighting display. It featured 3D touch sensitive interactive lighting models that allowed visitors to control the colours on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and ‘dress circle’ buildings that surround Circular Quay. The installation included 1640 lighting fixture tubes containing 72,000 individual LEDs and 6700 LEDs in 140 cans, according to Vivid.

This year, around 74 light installations and projections designed by engineers, industrial designers, and artists, will be showcased at Vivid Sydney, across 11 precincts in Sydney’s CBD and surrounds. And while not everyone is an engineer, all light and projection installations are required to have engineering certificates that include compliance for the design and installation.

Of interest to ITEE College members, Vivid will also host two speakers - Craig Barratt and Karsten Schulz – who will tell their stories. Barratt is senior VP of access and energy at Google, overseeing Google Fiber, a gigabit-speed internet service; OnHub, a smart Wi-Fi router; and Railtel, its project providing Wi-Fi to India’s railway stations. He holds PhD and Master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, BE and BSc degrees from the University of Sydney and is the co-author of a book on linear controller design. Schulz is the program director of Digital Careers, a government-backed, independent program aimed at positively engaging students, parents and teachers in digital technology. Schulz has a PhD in computer science from the University of Queensland and a BA Electrical Engineering from Furtwangen University, Germany.

Vivid is set to be a visual and aural feast for interested ITEE engineers.

Author: Desi Corbett


Image: 2016 Dress Circle buildings along Circular Quay in Sydney. Source: Vivid

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