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Next gen art: The making of Unnumbered Sparks

The making of Unnumbered Sparks, a monumental interactive sculpture by artists Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin for TED's 30th anniversary. At night, the sculpture becomes a crowd-controlled visual on a giant, floating canvas; visitors choreograph it in real time through their mobile devices. Video courtesy Google and Studio Echelman.

World-renowned sculptor Janet Echelman builds living, breathing sculptural environments that respond to the forces of nature — wind, water, and light. Her most recent work Unnumbered Sparks — a collaboration with Aaron Koblin, head of the Data Arts Group at Google — hangs just outside of the Vancouver Convention Center in Canada.

Echelman’s installations are made of unique netting that flows and billows with the wind, yet is strong and stable enough to weather the forces of nature year round. Autodesk, a software corporation headquartered in California, US, worked with Echelman to create custom 3D software to model the piece and test its feasibility. Koblin transformed the sculpture into an interactive pallet that enables viewers to choreograph light on the sculpture using mobile technology.