Blinkenlights Arcade (2002), Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France

Arcade (2002): Foto: Dorit Günter, Nadja HannaskeArcade (2002):
Foto: Dorit Günter, Nadja Hannaske
Arcade was the second interactive light installation of Project Blinkenlights. Following up on the original Blinkenlights installation in Berlin, Arcade marks a new step in interactive light installations in public space.

In the context of the Nuit Blanche art festival in Paris, the team transformed the Tower T2 of the Bibliothèque nationale de France into a huge computer screen. With a matrix of 20 x 26 windows (resulting in 520 directly addressable pixels) and a size of 3370m2, the Arcade installation was positioned to be world's biggest computer screen ever.

Eleven Nights

The installation started on September 25th, 2002 running eleven nights until the official Nuit Blanche happening at October 5th/6th. During this time span, the installation presented an ever-changing kaleidoscope of animations and interactive applications.

Arcade promoted a new series of classic computer games to run on the building, allowing everybody to play games on the building. Among others, the all-time favorite pixel puzzle game Tetris could be played using nothing but a mobile phone.

With its newly designed light control technology, the Blinkenlights team was able to smoothly dim the brightness of each pixel. This allowed for sophisticated, large-scale animations glowing into the Paris night life.

Public Participation

Using the newly created ArcadePaint program - running on Mac OS and Windows operating systems - everybody could start creating his own pictures and animations immediately. The resulting files could be sent in by e-mail to become part of the ever-growing playlist of animations to be displayed during the lifespan of Arcade.

Programmers had the opportunity to create animations directly by creating the simple, XML-based file format, which is a natural evolution of the original Blinkenlights Movies file format. You can access all necessary information on our Developers' Page.

Documentation Video

We have created a wonderful documentation video of our Arcade project. You can see it right here but you can also download a high-resolution version on our video page.