Existing at the intersection of art and technology, The Aurora is a 29-foot-tall, 720-pound experiential sculpture in which both human interaction and weather factors create swirling patterns of color and light. The title of Lewin’s work references the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights—naturally occurring light phenomena that are visible in the northern sky during fall and winter months. Inspired by the beauty and complexity of these organic light forms, Lewin programmed her work to change color based on the weather in Minneapolis. Below The Aurora are eight platforms that respond to touch, encouraging visitors to actively participate in an ever-changing composition. Uniting nature, humanity, and technology, Lewin’s work underscores the dynamic interactions between people and environment.
The Aurora was completed in 2021 and was jointly commissioned by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and the Airport Foundation MSP. A 16-member Blue Ribbon Artist Selection Panel chose Lewin for the project because of her extensive experience creating new media and interactive sculptures for public use and enjoyment.
The Aurora features hundreds of color palettes with over 10,000 interactive LEDs that are programmed to reflect the seasons and live weather conditions in Minneapolis. The artwork consists of 23,000 aluminum rings formed into a wispy, honeycomb-like structure that evokes the solar wind patterns that create the Aurora Borealis in real life. 2,667 hand-blown glass bulbs are attached to the structure, each with three light-emitting diodes inside.
Codina Partners for LUX Doral
An interactive beacon of light that generates light effects as you move beneath it
Based on the dimensions of the golden ratio, Jen Lewin developed HELIX, a series of twenty-four spires laid out in the form of a nautilus shell, twisting upward. When you interact with this work, it creates an immersive environment that almost seems to envelop you in flames of rainbow light. We see the golden ratio all around us in nature—from the nautilus shell, to the petals of a lily, spiral galaxies, hurricane patterns, and even the ratios of human faces. Artists have used this mathematical principle throughout art history, and its proportions were mathematically approximated by the Italian mathematician known as Fibonacci. Lewin is interested in this form because it demonstrates how math prevails throughout the natural and built worlds, and how we as humans are drawn to the beauty found within our environments, and ourselves.
ANDANTE and HELIX comprise a pair of sculptures positioned at opposite ends of the Paseo that are designed to combine mathematical, musical, and dance principles into interactive experiences that stimulate multiple senses. Trained as a dancer, musician, and architect, Jen Lewin combines all of these disciplines in her visual work. Just as people can trigger sensors on ANDANTE and HELIX, the sculptures simultaneously activate the human senses—initiating a flow of energy between the artworks and the participants.
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Interactive motion-sensing sculptures that reflect your silhouette
Lewin’s Edison series is a group of works that merge contemporary LED technology and interactivity with the historical incandescent lightbulb invented by Thomas Edison. In 2012, Edison bulbs ceased to be produced in the USA, prompting Lewin to begin this series using hand-blown glass bulbs custom designed to utilize LED light.
The original orb-shaped forms used in the Edison series evolved from the reuse of molds used to create The Pool in 2008.
The BRAZE CLOUD is a cluster of five interactive orbs that utilize custom code and heat-mapping technology to reflect the motions of people below onto the sculpture.
The BROOKFIELD CLOUD is comprised of eight glass orbs made of welded metal rings with thousands of interactive LEDs attached. Using custom code written by the artist and heat-mapping technology, these clusters are programmed to reflect people moving below—glowing white, blue and purple. Featuring old-fashioned, handmade elements with complex interactive systems, this sculpture creates an interactive experience where people can control the forms seen in the clouds with their movements.
The TULSA CLOUD at Gathering Place consists of six glass orbs made of welded metal rings with thousands of interactive LEDs attached. Built using over 2,100 custom glass bulbs with hand-embedded RGB pixel LEDs and heat-sensing technology, it twinkles and shifts as participants move underneath it. The bulbs take the shape of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb, which went out of production in the USA in 2012. Bringing together an old-fashioned aesthetic with high-tech electronics, it creates an interactive experience where people can control the shapes seen in the clouds with their movements.
Composed of 5,000 hand-welded metal rings, 3,000 vintage Edison bulbs, 3,000 hand-glued white LEDS, 3,000 custom cables, and over 60 custom controllers, the first EDISON CLOUD represents both an old-fashioned and handmade mentality. By walking under the sculpture you will see a ghostly shadow above you, as if you are reflected by the sculpture. This work aims to create an experience in which the movement of your body brings both beauty and form to these digital glass clouds.
An interactive wave of light and sound that you can compose with your motions
In music and dance, “andante” refers to a slow tempo, or gradual, fluid motions. Bringing together highly mathematical principles of music theory, the tones are based loosely on a pentatonic scale, which is often found in traditional Chinese music and sounds as if it shifts fluidly between major and minor tonalities. Multiple layers of sound allow for both range and depth depending on the speed with which you move beneath each sensor. This scale seems to ebb and flow like the shape of ANDANTE or the leap of a dancer—connecting your motions to your auditory, tactile, and visual senses. Similarly, the shape of the sculpture is derived from a musical staff in which each light tube becomes a bar of music.
ANDANTE and HELIX are a pair of sculptures positioned at opposite ends of the Paseo that are designed to combine mathematical, musical, and dance principles into interactive experiences that stimulate multiple senses. Trained as a dancer, musician, and architect, Lewin unifies all these disciplines in her work. Just as people can trigger sensors on Andante and Helix, the sculptures simultaneously activate the human senses—initiating a flow of energy between the artworks and the participants.
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