Designers: Jason Kelly Johnson & Nataly Gattegno, Futureforms; Location: University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida, USA; Lead Client: Reubin O’ D. Askew Institute for Multidisciplinary Studies, University of West Florida; Date Completed: 2020.
Constellations is a dynamic and immersive artwork animated by flowing patterns and algorithmic formations of light and shadow. It is an iconic sculpture that merges digital craft and cutting edge fabrication with data visualizations of abstract phenomena found in nature at a variety of scales. Constellations creates a theater-in-the-round that acts like a portal into an invisible world of dynamic visual poetry inspired by ideas of science, art and technology. Constellations is located between the Center for Fine and Preforming Arts and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at the University of West Florida in Pensacola Florida. It anchors the landscape between the STEM disciplines on campus and creates an open ended framework for dialogue between the arts and the sciences. Part performance space and part data visualization device, Constellations creates the gathering space for the dialogue of different disciplines and information. The structure forms a 30’ x 25’ x 16’ theater in the round – a place to gather, collect and experience. Constructed out of stainless steel, Constellations is made up of a series of galvanized steel structural columns, stainless steel elliptical beams and lattices. Suspended from the lattices are a series of stainless steel trays that hold Phillips Color Kinetic LEDs, controlled by a Pharos LED controller. Inspired by early studies and translations of animal locomotion using chronophotography and planetary motion simulations, Constellations uses geometry, light and shadow to create a meditative internal space that at night becomes a playful illuminated sculpture displaying constellations of motion. Never the same – always in flux. Constellations merges art and science, technology and experience, data and art. The theater-in-the-round brings together people from divergent disciplines, to observe patterns of data, discuss and collaborate. Whether a musician seeing the rhythm of a score, a dancer studying a choreography, a computer scientist observing data patterns, or a meteorologist gazing at images of clouds; Constellations brings together otherwise siloed disciplines and people through the merge of art and technology.