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As you walk into the arched lobby of the Athenaeum at Caltech, your eyes are immediately drawn to the explosive splashes of color filling the arches above each entrance. Coordinated to your movements, the display responds dynamically to motion. It is the artist’s attempt to portray the role of science in disrupting the status quo, potentially impacting society in positive, and sometimes negative, ways.
Designed by artist and UCLA professor Jennifer Steinkamp, the installation adorns a hallowed hall where the likes of Albert Einstein once tread. Steinkamp chose to reflect upon the thoughts coursing through such minds as they recognized their convention-shattering discoveries would forever change our world for better or worse.
Sensors in the walls above the Athenaeum lobby communicate with computers and projectors to create full-color, digital images that beam onto two semi-circular spaces above the room’s entrances. As more motion travels through the Athenaeum, more spontaneous bursts of light erupt on the walls.