Light Matrix (MIT)

Leo Villareal

Location

Building E52, Morris and Sophie Chang Building

Leo Villareal’s Light Matrix (MIT), 2016, comprises 240 stainless steel rods, each of which contains 72 white LEDs (for a total of 17,280 lights). The 9-foot rods hang vertically, realizing a luminescent canopy suspended from the ceiling of E52’s North Vestibule. Movement and light feature prominently within the work and echo the function of the site itself, which is traversed daily by the MIT community. The mirrored surfaces of the installation reflect the LED light, allowing the work to be experienced both up close and from far away.

The installation deploys technology and as an artistic material and fosters a dialogue with the surrounding environment and viewer perception. After the hardware of the work was installed, the artist programmed the lighting sequences on-site with custom-designed software. The lights flicker on and off to create abstract and geometric configurations that vary in speed and luminescence. The perceptual effect is hypnotic, navigating the spectrum from subtle shifts to rapid and pulsating flashes. Resting in the space between concrete computer code and abstract aesthetic choice, the work explores the expressive potential of LED technology. Light Matrix (MIT) aims less to stipulate a viewer experience than to establish a playful arena that is ripe for unique, perceptual discoveries.

 Light Matrix (MIT) was commissioned as a percent-for-art project in conjunction with the renovation of the Morris and Sophie Chang Building—Building E52 which houses the MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT’s Department of Economics, and the MIT Faculty Club.  The renovation was completed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, LLP



Leo Villareal was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1967. Villareal received a BA in sculpture from Yale University in 1990, and a graduate degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Interactive Telecommunications Program.  His recent exhibitions include a survey show organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, which traveled to several museums in the United States.  He has completed many site-specific works including Radiant Pathway at Rice University, Multiverse at The National Gallery of Art and Diagonal Grid at Borusan Culture and Arts in Istanbul, Turkey.  Villareal’s The Bay Lights shined from dawn until dusk on the San Francisco Bay Bridge West Span from March 5, 2013 through March 2015. Newly commissioned installations at Cornell University and the Durst Organization in New York City will be in visible public spaces.  Villareal’s work is in the permanenet collections of many museums including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

  • Leo Villareal, Light Matrix (MIT), 2016
    240 stainless steel rods, 17, 280 LED lights
    Photo: John Kennard

  • Leo Villareal, Light Matrix (MIT), 2016
    240 stainless steel rods, 17, 280 LED lights
    Photo: John Kennard

  • Leo Villareal, Light Matrix (MIT), 2016
    240 stainless steel rods, 17, 280 LED lights
    Photo: John Kennard

  • Leo Villareal, Light Matrix (MIT), 2016
    240 stainless steel rods, 17, 280 LED lights
    Photo: John Kennard

  • Leo Villareal, Light Matrix (MIT), 2016
    240 stainless steel rods, 17, 280 LED lights
    Photo: John Kennard

Date

2016

Type

Light installation

Medium

240 stainless steel rods, 17, 280 LED lights