Upcoming Lighting Installations

19 September 2012

I’m happy to announce I’ll be lighting up the city with two unique and innovative interactive installations:

“Thank God for the Weather” @ Nuit Blanche Ottawa


The first installation, “Thank God for the Weather” was created especially for Nuit Blanche Ottawa 2012 — to make a bold, accessible focal-point for the Wellington area.

The interactive piece features larger-than-life-sized projections, cast onto both sides of the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre building (corners of Wellington St. and Holland Ave.)

The projection is composed of a dynamically changing sky that darkens in conjunction with the falling night. The sky fills with cartoon-like clouds that move faster or slower, depending on Ottawa’s actual real-time wind speed. Twitter messages — generated in real-time through audience interaction — fly by with the clouds. Additionally, key words from Tweets, like “beautiful” and “nuit blanche,” trigger the appearance of special animations, such as rainbows, lightning bolts, or logos from local businesses.

This captivating artwork directly reflects the local environment of Nuit Blanche both literally — by controlling the sky color and clouds from weather data — and figuratively by displaying public sentiment of the event expressed on Twitter.

Everyone is encouraged to interact with the animation through their Twitter accounts by using the hashtags #NBO12 or #NBO2012.

The installation will only be running on Saturday, September 22, staring at 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Check it out while you can!

“Color Clicker” @ Architecture Week 2012


The second installation entitled “Color Clicker” is a showcase for Architecture Week 2012, taking place September 24-30.

This interactive, “data driven” piece allows users to control the color of the building’s lighting through their smartphones.

Users click on a QR code that brings them to a simple web application where they select the lighting color they’d like to see displayed on the building.

The lighting instantly changes to the color selected. It also shows a history of the average colors selected over the event, to serve as a visual indicator of audience preference. When nobody is interacting with the piece, the previously selected colors cycle through in an animated fashion.

This dramatic, but temporary installation will only be running during the evenings of September 24-29. It can be seen at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts (302 St Patrick St.).

Enlighten yourself by illuminating an old church!


These projects are graciously supported by The Ontario Arts Council, Artengine, Wellington West BIA, Lumilux Lighting, Leviton Lighting, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Morris Home Hardware, and 120 Holland Lofts.

More info

The official press release is available in PDF here, including Andrew’s contact info for media requests.

Nuit Blanche Ottawa: http://nuitblancheottawa.ca/

Architecture Week 2012: http://www.architecture-week.com/

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Creative Engineering @ Pecha Kucha Ottawa

14 September 2012

I was invited (somewhat last minute) to speak at Ottawa’s 6th Pecha Kucha event so I updated my Creative Engineering presentation for an adult audience, focusing on several previous projects and some of their background design processes.

I’ve joined yet another media sharing siteSpeaker Deck — to make the slides available:

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New DJ mix + more and more media

26 August 2012

Despite the ease with which I could record my sets in Traktor, I have yet to make this a habit, so my recorded DJ mixes remain rare, planned studio occasions.  Luckily the promoter at BPM where I recently played for a Frameworks Arkiteks night does make a habit of recording sets, so I’m happy to be able to share a new one!  I was dj’ing at a private party earlier, and a bunch of people from that party made their way to the club for this set so I had a lot of fun w/ it, sharing some “summer softies” alongside the “techno rollers.”

Andrew O’Malley @ Framework Arkiteks 2012-08-11 by Andrew O’Malley on Mixcloud

Keep reading for more on the whole “sharing” process . . .


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Creative Engineering

1 August 2012

Today I gave the above presentation to a group of 7-9 year olds, as part of an engineering/science camp called Virtual Ventures at Carleton University.

My goal was to show the kids how I apply engineering to fun and creative ends for my art and music projects.  While the actual slide show is brief on info — it was merely a backdrop for a live demo of several of the projects — it serves as a nice little review of a bunch of projects that aren’t fully documented yet.

The slideshow is also available as a PDF here.

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Sky Spectrum revisited

6 March 2012

Sky Spectrum (fixture view, detail)

Sky Spectrum (fixture view, detail)


Around this time last year, I completed a “data driven” light fixture called Sky Spectrum, for a show at Cube Gallery.  The concept behind Sky Spectrum is to analyze the Parliament Hill webcam to determine the average red, green, and blue values found in the image of the sky throughout the day, and use that data to control a remote light installation.  The original Sky Spectrum fixture used the real-time sky colour values to control LED lighting patterns based on the relationships between the red, green, and blue (RGB) values.  You can read all about the original fixture in this previous blog post.

From the onset, I was intrigued by the scalability of the project, in terms of all the additional ways the data could be presented across various different light sources or projections.  While the original fixture only reacted to the real-time, current sky conditions, I’ve since started to save the data to create an on-going data set of Ottawa’s sky conditions (as seen looking North at Parliment Hill).

With an upcoming, projection-based exhibition scheduled for May 2012 (more details coming soon), what better time to revisit the Sky Spectrum concept and make a version specifically for projection, taking advantage of this unique data set?


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Heart (i)

8 February 2012

Valentine’s Day Light Fixture

LED heart (lit view)

LED heart (lit view)

A client contacted me wanting a red, blinking, heart-shaped LED array.  Since my production schedule didn’t afford me the time to design, assemble, and program a heart-shaped LED matrix at his desired size of about 10″ x 10″ for his Valentine’s Day deadline, I proposed a back-lit acrylic heart, to which he agreed.

We settled on a design consisting of a black acrylic rear panel, and a combined white acrylic (for light diffusion) + smoked acrylic front panel combo.  This gave the appearance of a black heart when unlit:

LED heart (unlit view)

LED heart (unlit view)

The acrylic panels were designed w/ Inkscape, and cut at Artengine on the recently acquired laser cutter.

For the internal lighting, I opted for Adafruit’s addressable RGB strips (full review coming soon), since they have good brightness, are very easy to control thanks to the associated tutorial and library, and work off the same 5V used for the controlling circuitry — in this case, a stripped down DOTKLOK control board (minus the timekeeping components).  All this combined to make a straightforward assembly with a minimum of parts:

LED heart (internal circuit view)

LED heart (internal circuit view)

The client wanted a “blinking red heart” so I programmed the LEDs to “beat” at a slowly changing rate, and also added an occasional “chase” sequence.  The programming was expedited thanks to the useful and full-featured demo code provided by Adafruit.


After seeing the demo video, the client enthusiastically approved the programming and the piece was shipped in time to arrive for his Valentine’s Day gifting.

Had I more time for the project, I would have explored more animation sequences, such as the left and right sides of the heart beating in opposite phase, and some color effects to fully take advantage of the full color and individually addressable LEDs . . . maybe next year ;)


I’ve since added the heart lamp as an offering on Etsy, and it was covered by Wired’s Design Blog.

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OpenOttawaLibre 2011

15 October 2011

"Electric Tenement" reacting to Tweets @ OpenOttawaLibre 2011

“Electric Tenement” reacting to Tweets @ OpenOttawaLibre 2011

On Sept. 28 2011 I was fortunate to partake in OpenOttawaLibre 2011, an “unconference” that brought together a diverse group of “creatives” from the business, technology, and art sectors in Ottawa. Although the agenda of the day wasn’t entirely clear until the event started – in true “unconference” style – the day was actually a facilitated discussion workshop featuring multiple streams of interest, all derived from the central question:

what do we need to do to create a place that sparks opportunity for creative thinkers to collaborate and innovate for a better Ottawa?

From a general networking perspective, OOL11 proved to be a productive opportunity to meet new people and organizations with overlapping interests and mandates in the city – one particular example standing out being the desire expressed by many groups and individuals to have an Ottawa-based electronic arts festival. Although Ottawa is a relatively small city, it never ceases to amaze me how isolated different groups with similar agendas seem to be here; OOL11 provided a great meeting ground for such groups to discover one another. The enthusiasm generated at the event was also contagious, and served as a valuable reminder of the creative potential in Ottawa; I wish there were more events like OOL11 to help bring a unified focus to our efforts.

From a personal perspective, I was happy to bring new exposure to Artengine’s Electric Fields festival to a targeted, interested audience, as well as meeting a new group of potential collaborators from The City of Ottawa’s Community Arts Program, The Ottawa Art Gallery, and Apartment 613.

I was further fortunate enough to be one of 4 artists invited to showcase technical artwork. I chose to show Electric Tenement (the working name for the lighting tower debuted at Urbana 2011), programmed to react to tweets tagged #OOL11 (shown in the opening photo, above).

Guerilla Magazine wrote a feature on the piece and its role at OOL11 here.

Many thanks to Julie Dupont and Caleb Abbott at The City of Ottawa for all their hard work!  Make sure to check out the OOL11 webpage for more info and ongoing discussions.

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Mountain of Gold @ Chinatown Remixed 2011

25 June 2011

"Mountain of Gold" by The Latest Artists (photo by Ming Wu).

“Mountain of Gold” by The Latest Artists (photo by Ming Wu)


Chinatown Remixed is an annual, art festival in Ottawa’s Chinatown district.  For one month each spring, the merchants and restaurants of Chinatown welcome artists’ exhibitions and performances.

Having exhibited lighting installations back in the 2010 and 2009 festivals, Deb and I wanted to try something different from, and more spontaneous than our usual “plan and execute” lighting approach.

After a conversation with one of the primary organizers, Don Kwan of Shanghai Resto, we did indeed come up with something different for the 2011 edition (May 15 – June 15).

Read on for all the details . . .


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