Ivan Toth Depeña’s light-based installation “Reflect” was permanently installed in the Stephen Clark Government Center Lobby in Miami in November, 2011. Commissioned by the Miami-Dade Art in Public Places initiative, the work illuminates the dynamism of the lobby space and encourages a sense of discovery in the visitors.
This dynamic art work is designed by the artist with the idea of welcoming visitors and employees to Government Center in a fun and interactive way,” said Michael Spring, Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs. “It will energize the lobby and symbolize the County’s commitment to be informative and responsive to our citizens.”
As a main stop in Miami’s MetroRail system, the space serves as a hub for commuters; incorporating the notion of daily circulation into his piece, Depeña uses sensors and light to focus on the communal nature and circulatory qualities of the lobby. The project engages the building’s visitors and references the idea of community through various means of reflection, group interactivity and high-tech playfulness.
The basis of the project is a network of custom designed LED light boxes placed at specific locations throughout the lobby space. These light boxes interact and respond to the commuter’s movement and gesture via camera tracking, creating an energetic and vibrant artwork.
Custom software has been developed to complete Depeña’s vision and the LED nodes have been individually programmed to be the anchor of the work’s responsiveness and interactivity. Passers-by have their images captured by several infrared cameras; the installation’s software then abstracts that image in real time, displaying this abstraction on the light covered columns. The resulting image creates an ethereal mirror that testifies to the participation of the audience and the activity of the space.
The colorful lights of the installation also engage those beyond the lobby—as some columns face the public plaza—and the installation remains functioning even when there are no active participants, as the light panels retain the “memory” of users’ interactivity. This is a key element in the conceptual infrastructure of the installation. The “memory” gives the space added life and allows the community to be a part of the constantly evolving artwork. Sensitive enough to detect the difference between multiple and single users, the system will vary the output and scale of the display to the number of visitors, and the hues will change according to the time of day. All visitors experience the vibrancy of Depeña’s work and have the ability directly affect the piece or simply witness the patterns produced by other users, elaborating on the idea of time and memory in the space.
Funding for this project was generated from the West Lot Parking Garage, which is being overseen by the Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department. In collaboration with Internal Services Department, Art in Public Places opted to use funds generated from this parking garage to commission a public artwork in the more visible, Government Center Lobby, one of the key facilities to be served by the garage. The County Code provides the flexibility for APP funds generated by an eligible construction permit to be used in another government facility that may provide more public visibility for an artwork.
About Ivan Toth Depeña:
Ivan Toth Depeña is an artist and designer living and working in Brooklyn, NY and Miami, Florida. Ivan’s studio practice is based on his multi-disciplinary approach to envisioning work. With a Masters Degree in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Depeña’s output as an artist is informed by his experience in art, architecture, technology and design. Combining many sources of media, technology, form and materials, Depeña seeks to blur boundaries and create work that exists within a new and amorphous hybrid of various creative disciplines.
His recent exhibitions include, “Big Screen Plaza” video screening in NY, NY, “Not the Usual Suspects: [New] Art in [New] Public Places” At the ArtCenter South Florida, “Aesthetics and Values 2011” at the Frost Museum in Miami, “Miami in Transition” at the Miami Art Museum and various group and solo exhibitions throughout the US. Ivan is the recipient of several grants including the “South Florida Visual + Media Artist Fellowship Grant” and is currently a finalist for the prestigious “Cintas Fellowship”. He has completed residencies at the “Atlantic Center for the Arts” in Florida and the “Digital Sculpture and Public Art residencies” at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
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About Miami-Dade Art in Public Places:
Miami-Dade Art in Public Places is a program of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and is responsible for the commission and purchase artworks by contemporary artists in all media. One of the fist public art programs in the country, Miami-Dade Art in Public Places was established in 1973 with the passage of an ordinance allocating 1.5% of construction cost of new county buildings for the purchase or commission of artworks, educational programs and collection maintenance. The Art Trust Fund is administered by a County Commission-appointed citizens’ board, the Art in Public Places Trust, in consultation with its Professional Advisory Committee. For more information about the Art in Public Places Program and the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs please visit:
Public art installation by: Ivan Toth Depeña
Commissioned by: Miami-Dade Art in Public Places
Lighting Consultant and Programming Support: Focus Lighting
Fabrication support: Custom Finishers
With generous support by: Color Kinetics
All text provided by Ivan Toth Depeña.