SAM Lights, hosted by the Seattle Art Museum, is a winter time luminous evening event set among some truly amazing sculptures on Seattle's waterfront.

Wide picture of city and trees reflecting at upstream music festival with sensebellum

in 2017 Sensebellum was invited by the Seattle Art Museum to create an interactive art installation that activated the entire park. After sifting through a few ideas the Arborealis Tree Lighting System came to the surface once again as a great strategy to bring light throughout the park. A few lines of code, some CNC cutting, and a little bit of creativity later and we had a smash hit on our hands!



The Arborealis Tree Lighting System is a growing set of over 120+ tubular light fixtures that look stunning when hung in and among trees and foliage.

Waterproof, colorful, bright, digital LED strips light up that night and spanned an impressive 16 trees over a full acre of grounds at the park. What was new to this iteration was the interactivity feature. An abstracted scaled down map of the park was created. Where each tree was a button on the map that when pressed lit up that corresponding tree as well as played a musical sound. Full on audio - visual interactivity for everyone.

This combination of lights, the map, the interactivity, the sound, and the large scale nature played well into a process of discovery for each new participant. There were no instructions, just a colorful interface that begged to be touched. "What does this button do?", "Wait, what happens if you press this one too?", "Oh look, the trees light up in order when I press these together!", "Wow, this is amazing!"

These types of reactions are precisely what we aim to create. When both the kids and the parents have to be pulled away from the installation you know it was a good time.

Thank you to Jen Au from the Seattle Art Museum for the wonderful pictures!