Luminous Illusions: 14 Interactive Spaces Made of Light

Rainbow Prisms in Ancient Roman Markets

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Using the power of sunlight rather than electricity, artist Peter Erskine paints the surfaces of Trajan’s Markets in Rome (circa 112 AD) with rainbow stripes. The installation and others like it use “the emotional impact of art to address the full range of nature from its most elemental expression as pure light to its most complex expression as global ecology.”

Ghost Ship in Amsterdam

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A ghost ship quivers on the surface of Amsterdam’s canals in this installation by Romania-based architecture collective visualSKIN for the Amsterdam Light Festival. Made of light projected onto streams of water, the illusion conjures a vision of Dutch East India Company ship The Amsterdam, which wrecked in a storm on its maiden voyage in 1749.

3D Blueprints: Rooms of Light and Thread

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A combination of projected UV light and thread creates artificial environments-within-environments, making visitors feel as if they’ve somehow stepped into a set of blueprints. These installations by Berlin-based Korean artist Jeongmoon Choi often look like they’re made from beams of lasers, but step right into those lines and you’ll find yourself tangled.

Sun Salutation: Interactive Light Installation in Croatia
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Installed atop another installation that makes music from the wind and waves of the sea, ‘Sun Salutation’ by Nikola Basic reflects and responds to those rhythms and sounds, creating an immersive experience that really comes to life after dark. The circular disc of LED lights absorbs sunlight during the day to power itself at night.

Light Rails Beautifies Birmingham, Alabama


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Thousands of LEDs are connected to 250 computerized units to flood an underpass in downtown Birmingham, Alabama with multi-colored light. The Light Rails installation by artist Bill FitzGibbons is programmed to display 16 million different color combinations.