Migrations at the Winter Light Festival

Interactive sculpture shines a light on shared experiences
Interactive Installations

Concept

Migrations invited contemplation on the diverse experiences of animal and human migration, from hopeful journeys toward opportunity to involuntary displacement due to unrest or necessity. At its core, the installation sought to foster empathy and understanding by highlighting the common thread woven through every migration story. By providing a platform for personal story-sharing, Migrations aimed to unite festival-goers through shared experiences and emotions.

Design + Implementation

The centerpiece of Migrations was a physical bird sculpture constructed with structural steel and tensioned architectural fabric. The sculpture served as a central gathering point, a beacon of light symbolizing the journey of migration. Scanning a QR code launched a companion web application that complemented the physical structure and enabled an enhanced level of interactivity.

Interactive Experience

Upon launching the companion experience on their mobile device, visitors were shown a digital flock of origami birds migrating around the globe. Individuals could unfold an origami bird to read heartfelt messages and personal anecdotes about migration written by previous visitors. Tapping a heart next to a message would send a wave of red light through the physical bird sculpture, amplifying the connection between the user stories and the sculpture.

Participants could also share their own stories by selecting a color for their digital origami bird and scribing a message. Submitting their story then illuminated the sculpture in the same color as the user’s origami bird.

Community Engagement + Impact

Across two weekends, Migrations captivated visitors of the Portland Winter Light Festival with an incredible 83% engagement rate – thousands of festival-goers shared their migration stories! 

Participants could also share their own stories by selecting a color for their digital origami bird and scribing a message. Submitting their story then illuminated the sculpture in the same color as the user’s origami bird.

Takeaways

Migrations demonstrated the power of interactive art to nurture human connection and shared experiences. Through the compelling combination of physical and digital elements, the installation fostered empathy, understanding, and compassion. Looking ahead, we are excited to continue illuminating hearts and minds through innovative and transformative experiences like Migrations.

 

Installation Sculpture and Lighting by Olivia Guethling, Mar Ricketts, Trevor Blackann, Mikele Schnitman, and Goodbeast.

Interactive Experience Design by Alex Hessler, Zach Roberts, Daniel Chamberlin, Mieke Hutchins, Simon Uleners, and Olivia Guethling.

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