Welcome back my artist people! In this episode I’m talking with Shlomo Zippel, a developer turned light artist based out of the Bay Area. We’ve kind of been in each other’s orbits for years but we’d never actually met in person. Recently I started dating a friend of his, and that prompted me to get in touch. He was one of the original contributors to the software and hardware driving the Tree of Tenere and he’s been in the scene for the past 10 years. I figured we’d have a lot to talk about!
Recently Shlomo’s been working on launching an experiential art space here in San Francisco. Kind of in the vein of Meow Wolf and Team Labs but with a decidedly light-art/Avatar-esque feel to it. He’s putting a unique spin on the concept of immersive art installations and collaborating with some amazing local light artists.
Simultaneously he’s developing an LED controller that he wants to take to market soon after his art space launches. It’s really software that he’s developing to run on a variety of microcontroller platforms. It incorporates a really capable pattern engine and it works in a fundamentally distributed manner. Like you would deploy lots of them into an installation and they work like some kind of LED hive mind. The swarm of controllers collectively spread the processing power out across the entire fleet of devices meaning there’s no need for a massive and expensive server sitting at the center of the installation. It’s a super cool concept and I loved geeking out with him on how this type of system could change the way artists think about their installations. It’s a great conversation, yet another amazing artist/engineer doing crazy things with technology. I think you’re going to dig it!
Photo credit: Eleanor Preger