Water Vortex + Fire Tornado Concept Proposal

I have always been interested in water vortexes. The way the water flows around a central opening that extends deep into a liquid abyss is something that is mystical in nature. The sheer power behind the water and the way the light refracts off of the opening and down the column of air is a natural phenomenon that I could stare at for hours.


Along these same lines, when a fire is trapped inside a swirling tornado of air, the way the flames rise up to incredible heights and swirl around each other is a fascinating display of light.

For this project I propose to combine the 2 aspects of a water vortex and a fire tornado into one art piece. I want to design a figure that has a water vortex swirling around a glass walled cylinder, and inside of the column of air created by the vortex is a tornado of fire.

To implement this there are a few key components that need to be working. The first challenge will be to create a water vortex inside of a glass cylinder. To achieve this I plan to use a fairly high powered water pump that injects water into the bottom of the tank. As the water flows into the tank the water level will rise and create a spinning affect inside the tank. At the same time a hole in the bottom of the tank will allow the water to drain into a tank hidden from view where the pipe pulls from.

While the water is spinning up I have 3 ideas for how to implement the fire aspect. My first idea involved running a tube of propane gas into the bottom of the tank and allowing the rising gas to create the flame. The swirling affect of the water hopefully creates an airflow that will create the fire tornado and extend the flame to the top of the water. This will allow the fire to continuously exist without having to worry about a long term fuel source.

My second idea involves using rubbing alcohol to create a low temperature alcohol flame in the bottom of the tank. This would involve filling a small metal tub with ethanol that is then lowered into the tank and lit on fire. Then as the water fills the tank the tornado will form.

My final idea involves making the entire water mixture out of an ethanol water mixture so the actual surface of the water lights on fire and hopefully carries itself down the vortex. This method may not be ideal however as the fire tornado will not really form and it will use much more ethanol.

As an extension I hope to create some interesting visuals with either colored glass/mirrors inside of the tank, or possibly coloring the water with a photo-sensitive pigment or a temperature sensitive pigment. This will give the water some interesting affects but may mask the appearance of the flame.


Project Proposal: Music Visualizer

For my project I want to create something that reacts to music or sound. Looking at projects online for inspiration, I saw that there were a lot of people who have created what is called a music visualizer or spectrum analyzer. Most of these projects have been done using an LED grid, such as the one shown in the video below.

There is also a tutorial that I found on adafruit for a smaller version using their  8-by-8 LED grid. Since this one does not use as many frequency bands, it does not provide as much information about the music and is less responsive to small frequency changes. This project is shown in the video below.

Instead of using an LED grid, I found LED strips with individually programmable LEDs, which I would like to use for my project. One person made a spectrum analyzer with five bands and LED strips, pictured below. The project could use some finishing touches to make it a visually appealing piece of art.

In my project, I want to create a music visualizer, and have come up with a couple designs that I want to choose from. The first design would be a 16 band spectrum analyzer with the LED strips. This design would adhere to the traditional look of a spectrum analyzer, but I would add finishing touches to create a clean, simplistic and modern looking design. For this, I would like to create a frame for the project, painted black, and cover each strip of LEDs with fogged glass or a similar material. In addition, I would like to look into adding a mirror along the bottom to provide a reflection. The design is sketched out below.

My second design for a music visualizer would use the light intensity to represent each frequency band. This design would have 8 frequency bands represented by circles, each illuminated by LEDs. I would play around with using fogged glass or infinity mirrors for each circle. This design is sketched out below.

Concept Proposal- Lauren Getz

Coming up with an idea for this project was really difficult for me. When it comes to art, I always struggle with feeling too cliche, too predictable, or too overdone. Light art is a completely new area for me so researching all the options and history behind it left me feeling overwhelmed.

I decided to bring it back to basics. What do I think of when I think of light? I think of the French phrase “Fermez la Lumière” which directly translates to “Close the light” but is used colloquially as a means to say “Turn off the light.”

Further exploring this idea of closing lights, it made me think about the night sky. A wondrous source of natural light which is often a unique sight of beauty to behold.  This made me think of how light can have a negative effect by washing out other sources of light, specifically light pollution.

Being an avid fan of hiking and the outdoors, I often find Worcester a bit stifling to not be able to look up at night and always see a clear sky of stars.

This is an example of what I wish I was seeing every night.

This is an example of how light pollution varies the further you get away from cities.

This picture of an old fashioned camera exemplifies what I would like to accomplish by putting a very dark piece of cloth over the viewer of the art to totally immerse themselves in in the light. Ideally, the cloth will be covering a large box which will be painted to look like the night sky.

An example of what a side of the box would be, except it would be painted to look like stars with twinkling LED’s.

In each of the painted bright stars will be a twinkling LED light. However, in the center of the box will be an additional light source, most likely a light bulb. This light bulb represents the light pollution  in the sense that when that light is on, you won’t be able to notice the beauty of the stars. It will mostly likely even be uncomfortable for the viewer. The light source will either be on a dimmer or with some sort of switch set up so that the view is able to see how the starts visibility increases with each increment.  Possibly something more mechanical to be covering the light source, but at this point I think a dimmer makes the most sense.

This will encourage the viewer to “close the light” more often in order to reduce light pollution and create a more visible night sky for everyone.


Project Proposals – Brie Fiorentino

My very first idea is doing something with light painting as I really enjoy photography and thought this is a fun twist to taking photos. Soon after I signed up for this class, I had the idea to create animated light paintings, very similar to how Lucia Spinelli created. After finding her and seeing that she had already created something like this, I tried thinking of new ideas that I could do. I also got the idea just to track movement with light painting such as having someone dance with LEDs on their hands and feet and see what image I get out. Also playing with reflections that the painted light can create such as something like this photo:

Another idea I had was using a black light. Either a painting that looks all white but when you apply black light to it, you see a painting of a galaxy or something along those lines. But this feels too simple as well as I don’t have that much experience with painting so maybe I would create something digital in photoshop.

One final thing I am thinking is incorporating origami with my project. Maybe creating pieces that light up and give of cool shadows. Or creating a wall of light up cranes or cubes that aline to make a bigger picture.

My final Idea is taking wire LEDs and making either some sort of sculpture with them or rearranging them in a big clump but when it is viewed at the right angle, all the lights will align to make an outline of a shape or an image .

Concept Proposals – Zachary Armsby

Concept 1 – Self Supporting Large LED Sculpture

The first project concept that I would like to propose for my final project is inspired by the light sculptures of Makoto Tojiki and Jun Ong (displayed below). Both of their works are a form of light sculpture, using light emitting elements to define a form. The use of light emitting elements makes the sculptures stand out more and make piece more impactful.

For my project I propose making an LED sculpture, composed of nodes with LEDs housed in a 3D printed support structure inside of ping pong balls connected  by bamboo skewers. The support structures would be generated with a script from a low poly stl model, designed to fit inside ping pong balls and have bamboo skewers slot in. The ping pong balls would diffuse the LED’s light. Each of the LEDs would be controllable with a 1-wire interface and have power and ground run to each node.

To test the concept I made a script to generate the support structures for the nodes. Starting with a stl mesh it outputs all of the necessary support structures for the sculpture. Below the starting stl and output support structures are shown.

Concept 2 – Light Painting with Robot Arm

The second project concept that I would like to propose for my final project is inspired by the light sculptures of Autodesk Pier 9, University of Michigan, and Gianluca Pugliese  (displayed below). All of their works use a form of light painting with CNC control to create their pieces, resulting in geometric lines and precise control over the final result.

For my project I propose using the ABB arm in Washburn to make a light painting video of a mesh while rotating the position of the camera around the arm drawing to see the 3D motion of the arm and the machine shop in the background. This would be done by attaching an LED to the ABB arm and taking a lot of long exposure pictures around the arm to make video frames.

To test the concept I got an introduction to the ABB arm, took a test long exposure photo of my friend drawing a circle, and tried making a panoramic time lapse video.

Concept Proposal

For my project, I have two concepts that I would possibly like to explore.

The first one I have been ceiling kaleidoscope because I have horrible at naming things. This was inspired by the colors that I will sometimes see on my wall because of little plastic gems that I have near my window.  At certain times of the day they cause the colors shown in the pictures below.


I am curious as to what would happen if multiple are mixed together, which got me thinking about the kaleidoscopes I would make as a kid and how they are limited to one viewer at a time. The idea I have is to make a kaleidoscope style projection on to a ceiling. This could be done by having a light source shine through the objects that would be on some rotating surface to change it like a kaleidoscope would.

The second one is similar to Chul-Hyun Ahn’s work. In his Forked series, he creates portals of infinity using a florescent light between mirrors.  The idea I have uses this concept but uses either a different type of light source or shining a light source through a gem type object. Using a candle as a light source between the mirrors is interesting to me as it might not only create a portal of fire but change over time. Shining the light source through a gem between the mirrors is also interesting as the gem itself refracts light.

Project Proposal – Charlie Brooks

My project concept centers around passing light from a single light source through panes of colored glass (or Plexiglass?) resulting in an image being “projected” onto a flat surface behind the panes. I took inspiration from both my research on Stephen Knapp (front of library art guy), stained glass windows:

Interesting stained glass execution

and also from this work that I found by an artist named Rashad Alakbarov:

Rashad Alakbarov work from “Fly to Baku” exhibit

This work uses acrylic airplanes arranged such that the light behind them creates the image on the wall of a bay scene. Before I saw this work, I knew that I wanted to work with colored glass to create a colored image but I didn’t know how to execute.

My plan is to use panes of colored glass either positioned or hung such that they create an image of either a cityscape or Bob Ross-type landscape scene:

Potential landscape for my project

I believe that the panes themselves would be interesting to look at, and the resultant light painting would add another dynamic that would make the entire piece very cool.

Here is a schematic depicting an initial concept:

Concept Proposal – Duong Nguyen

Hi everyone, I have two different idea for my final project: Infinity Tesseract (Cube) and Light Puzzle

The infinity Tesseract idea i get from many artist that did infinite light artist such as Chul Hyun Ahn, however with a slight modification where i will not focus on the light art inside the glasses but about the whole structure of the art, instead of having one side i will make 6 sides of a cube, so each side of the cube will look like having infinite space which make the idea of space go further where inside the cube which is 3D have another dimension the fourth one like the Tesseract in marvel universe.

The art piece will be small not as big as in the picture but basically it will have 6 side. If possible i also want to make the LED inside the glass different on each side. The light inside the infinite mirror could react to music input or have different light properties to make different art or display a hologram.

Light puzzle idea is taken from the idea of wooden puzzle or a rubik cube, but instead of a solid color, i want to use LED put into acrylic or other cool material so that each piece of the puzzle combination will make a different color so the viewers will also be the performers of this art piece where they have to figure out how to solve the art piece to make a cool art at the end.

Link of Picture used:



Link for Presentation:


Concept Proposals – Dominic Redding

My proposed project is to recreate a scene which follows natural cycles around a fixed object: day and night or the four seasons. This would be a rotating plane bisected once (for day-night) or twice (for seasons) to display two or four versions of the same image under the different phases of the cycle using silhouettes and colored translucent materials against a single light source on different phases.

The main idea is to have a central object that anchors the scene as a silhouette in front of a light source, then have the rotating plane set behind the object to animate what is happening around it in the rest of the scene. This may take multiple planes and light sources depending on how it needs to be masked off.

The alternative execution is to set up an LED screen set to change the color of the lights around the central, fixed object as the phases pass over a constant time.

Concept Proposal


Much like the artist I presented on Shih Chieh Huang I enjoy taking apart electronics for their parts. Some of the parts I have collected include the internals of a projector which have interesting refraction and color filtering properties. These material can be seen above. I an in love with the idea of turning materials that were not intended to be art into art.

Additionally I am drawing some inspiration from the space opera The Fifth Element and the theory of the four classical elements (earth, water, air fire). Another piece of media that plays off this theme of the classical elements is Adventure Time with fire, ice, candy, and slime. I considered doing this spin on the elements but could’t think of good and clean representations of these elements to put in my art.


For my project I would like to do something with infinity mirrors and lasers. My plan is for there to be two “infinite loops” inside of sets of mirrors a traditional infinite mirror made of two parallel one way mirrors facing each other and a laser loop made of four 45 degree mirrors allowing a laser to bounce around them in a square infinitely or until it is too dim to see. Each corner will have a special affect tied to one of the classical elements.

  • Element     –     Effect         –       Behavior
  • Fire               –     Lasers        –       Wave back and forth on servos, cycle on and off
  • Water          –     Fog               –       More water vapor will be added to the system
  • Air                 –     Anti-fog     –       Fog will  be extracted from the system
  • Earth            –     Sound         –      Transducer speaker will vibrate the assembly


For user input I am planning on having four photometers in the four corners of the device.  These inputs will tweak the relative intensity of the four main effects. Dialing the knob all the way up will make the effect brighter, faster, or more intense. Dialing the knob down will make the effect dimmer slower, or less intense. These effects will be explained below.


There will be four primary outputs of this device corresponding to the intensity of each input. There will be an additional fifth output in the form of ambient lighting that will be an average of all the inputs. As mentioned above in the table the effects will be lasers, fog, fog removal, and vibrations. There will be the additional effect of ambient light which color will be decided by the four elements. The combinations of each output at different intensities will make for different visual effect. i.e. lasers with fog vs lasers without fog or lasers with vibrations vs lasers with out vibrations.


I am also considering having feedback play into the system where sensors would detect when lasers are in a certain configuration. When activating the sensors a “5th element” would go into effect. I am still not sure how or if I want to implement this. It will be a stretch goal.

Materials and Construction

Projector internals as well as laser diodes and photo resistors.

Refracting cube of colored glass

Acrylic one way mirrors.