Bushfire

My mind's been going places without me lately...
I'm dancin' to the beat of a big bushfire
(The B-52's)

Bushfire was an experimental installation by Project Blinkenlights that predated and served as a testing field for the Arcade installation. It came to life at July 12th, 2002 to July 14th at the Nation of Gondwana Open Air Festival.

The installation was a real-time companion at the party. Driven by the soundtrack of the event (Audio), the compositions of the live acts (MIDI) and specially designed animations as well as some fog machines we turned the nearby wood into a huge "bushfire".

Bushfire is the result of the new hardware and software being developed. A brand new control system allows to dim the lights in small steps compared to the simple on/off system we used back then at the Haus des Lehrers.

The installation itself consisted of 48 flood lights in groups of 3 lamps set up in an interval of 10m at the trees. This resulted in 16 light groups that illuminated the wood in red, orange and yellow (bottom to top). A computer (matrix control unit) controlled the lamps directly at the skirt of the wood. The cables ran from group to group,from tree to tree.

At the DJ's desk another computer was connected to the output of the mixing console (audio) and the sequencers of the live acts (MIDI). Using a fast fourier transformation (FFT) the audio signal was split in 16 tracks and was transformed in to a greyscale 16x3 matrix in real-time. This image was being sent to the control computer by radio transmission which displayed it in the wood instantaneously. The MIDI signals were transformed to pictures accordingly so that music and the lighting of the wood were synchronized all the time.

To diversify the impression of Bushfire, half of the time a selection of special animations were played back with the system. These animations were simple greyscale GIF animations that could be translated to bushfire images immediately.

Bushfire Animations

A small selection of our Bushfire animations:

Bushfire Crew

Antenne Springborn Animations
Björn Barnekow Animations
Daniel Mack Programming
Fiedel Electronics
Mitch Natterer Programming
Papillon Installation
Sven Neumann Programming
Tim Pritlove Programming, Project Coordination