s q u i d s o u p . o r g


art, research, play and immersive experience

Solid light

… exploring the magnificent light properties of Aerogel (see earlier post here). This is a weird and wonderful substance. Projecting through it is akin to projecting in a smoke-filled environment, but it’s a solid space. These images don’t do the physical reality justice. More soon.

3D LED Cube

This is a single module of the NOVA system, as seen at the Wired NextFest

3D LED grids

One way to control light in 3 dimensions is to put loads of lights in a space and control each light. I’ve always loved this idea ever since seeing the work of Jim Campbell. Although not 3D, his use of low resolution 2D grids of lights is highly evocative and beautiful.


Taking it into 3D causes headaches mainly because of the numbers of lights/LEDs involved. A 32×24 2D grid needs 768 lights; a 32x24x24 3D grid needs 18,432. Search 3D grid in Youtube and you get anything from 3x3x3 up to, currently, 16 cubed.

A nice example of a larger cube – apparently modular – is by James Clar

James Clar modular grid

Seekway also make a 16x16x16 grid – see here.

NOVA, developed by the Swiss Institute of Technology, is an interesting one. A grid of LED clusters, 10cm apart and in 3cm spheres, in 10x10x10 modules.

There’s a 50x50x10 module at Zurich Central station.

NOVA site here

Image courtesy of this site

UVA have played with a more abstract notion of this idea with ‘Volume’:

as have Jason Bruges Studios with ‘Untitled Chandelier’:

Jason Bruges Untitled Chandelier

and finally, also very nice is the work of Erwin Redl – this is his project Matrix II


Aerogel apparently holds 5 record properties, including the best insulator and lightest solid on the planet. It is used by NASA to collect space dust, and this in turn was an inspiration for Liliane Lijn to produce a piece of work using Aerogel at Riflemakers in Soho (London) – see here.

We have a piece of Aerogel, kindly provided by Airglass AB, and it is extraordinary stuff, and visually absolutely beautiful. Half way between glass and nothing, like a chimera or ghost.

It does weird things with light; it looks yellow outdoors and blue indoors; light reflects/refracts off it in interesting ways.

Aerogel sample