For the 35th exhibition sponsored by the Madison Square Park Conservancy on the central Oval Lawn in New York’s Madison Square Park, Australian-born and New York–based Erwin Redl was commissioned to create a public art project. Known for his light projections on building façades, Redl draws inspiration from artists of the Southern California Light and Space movement, including Robert Irwin, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler.
The result was “Whiteout,” an installation on view from November 2017 to March 2018 that suspended 900 transparent white orbs from a 110-foot-wide by 180-foot-long grid of cabling and 12-foot-tall steel poles. Hovering 2 feet above grade, each sphere was equipped with a programmable white LED. Redl conceived a computer-generated wave animation that sequenced across the spheres from north to south and back, augmenting the orbs’ kinetic movement from wind with virtual movement. The luminous white carpet of LED lights proffered a place of public illumination during the short, often dark, winter days in the city.
“I love its simple elegance; I’d go see it just to understand it from the grand scale.” —Dave McCarroll, AIA, partner and CFO, KGM Architectural Lighting
Project Name: Whiteout, New York
Client/Owner: Madison Square Park Conservancy
Artist/Lighting Designer: Paramedia, Long Island City, N.Y. • Erwin Redl
Electronics Engineer: Fernekes Designs • Leo Fernekes
Lead Technician: J.K. Kreations • Jason Karas
Lead Rigger: Chris Buchakjian
Production Management: UAP
Photographer: Moorehart Photography, The Day by Ira Lippke
Project Size: 20,000 square feet
Project Cost: $250,000
Lighting Cost: $200,000
Watts per Square Foot: 0.1
Manufacturers: Paramedia (fixture design), Fernekes Designs (engineering)