Artist uses LEDs and mirrors to evoke the Aurora Borealis

Credit: Colin Druce-McFadden/DVICE

Unveiled only recently on January 22, "Light Cycles" is housed in a 10-story glass atrium overlooking the Hudson River in New York City. It was commissioned by Arts Brookfield and spruces up the Winter Garden at the Brookfield Place World Financial Center.

The artist behind the light show that fills this large space is Anne Militello, an internationally acclaimed lighting artist and veteran theater designer. Among her many works is the facade of the New 42nd Street Studios building, also located in Manhattan. With "Light Cycles," Militello is attempting to create similar visuals to those of the aurora borealis, twinkling stars and fields of gemstones as viewed through water. 

To accomplish these effects, she has hung numerous large discs or reflective material from the rafters of the atrium, lining each disk with programmable color-changing LEDs. The light is diffused and shone only through the outward facing surface of the discs, seemingly stating that the optimal viewing angle is that from outside. However, the throw of the light upon the rafters inside the atrium is no less stunning than the visual from outside. And in late January, it's a lot warmer, too. 

There is something to be said about Militello's awareness of her space. The atrium is populated a by a number of tall, warmly-lit palm trees. The overall effect is similar to auroras skipping across the glass ceiling above these usually tropically-located trees and makes the whole display all the more wondrous. 

The display will be visible from dusk to midnight and housed through March, so if you've got plans to visit NYC soon, you don't want to miss it. If you hurry on down, you might even run into the artist herself, who is still adding new lighting programs through the end of January. Admission is free to the public.

All images, video by Colin Druce-McFadden for DVICE.

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