Jen Lewin – Artist, Maker, Coming to Conway

An interactive piece by Jen Lewin

An interactive piece by Jen Lewin

If you haven’t heard of her work you are in for a real treat.  Some of the interactive works of Jen Lewin will be in Conway for ArtsFest 2013 – appropriately themed Shine! October 3 – 5th at UCA.

To give you a taste of what Jen’s work is all about we’ve included a tidbit from her website about the Pool, which is pictured above and will be at UCA October 3 – 5th in Alumni Circle.  Read on and be amazed.


POOL -verb = combine, amalgamate, blend, join forces, league, merge, put together, share  (Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus -)

The Pool is an environment of giant, concentric circles created from interactive circular pads. By entering the pool, you enter a world where play and collaborative movement create swirling effects of light and color. Imagine a giant canvas where you can paint and splash light collaboratively.

The pool is composed of 106 interactive circular platforms placed in giant concentric circles.  This arrangement can be as small as 40 feet x 40 feet (when compressed) or as large as 100 feet x 100 feet (when expanded.)  All of the 106 pads communicate wirelessly and “listen” to each other in an organic network formed in the same way people interact.  The Pool has no single master computer and does not use a router to route or control connections.  Each pad is independent and simultaneously interacts and listens to its environment based on user feedback.  Together, the 106 pads create complex, surprising, and unpredictable color arrays with their user participants.

By adding and subtracting light, individuals and groups of people are able to interact with The Pool in profound ways.  The interaction varies dramatically depending on the number of individuals involved.  This dynamic interaction between individuals and The Pool creates environments ranging from curious and playful with few participants to energetic and competitive with many participants.

Like a giant game of light “ping pong,” the pool will have users running and jumping, adding, bouncing, and mixing light together.


Each Pad in The Pool senses the movements of a person. User inputs such as foot location, foot pressure, and speed are sensed by the pad surface. As a person moves, light ripples out to the surrounding pads. For example, by leaning left, a ripple of varying intensity starts in that direction. A stronger more deliberate lean could cause a ripple to jump rings and fill the entire Pool. Ripples vary in light strength, length (the number of pads this message propagates to), and color. Each person’s ripple is unique. As ripples interact with other ripples, an infinite variety of colorful patterns emerge.


The Pool is composed of 106 pads. Each pad is 3 feet in diameter and 6 inches tall. In plan, The Pool can span anywhere between a 37-foot square (at a compressed scale) to a 75-foot square (at an expanded scale).

Each pad in The Pool is composed of a wireless Xbee Controller, a custom microcontroller, a sensor array, 24 RGB LEDs with full color mixing and fading control, and a durable, waterproof, polycarbonate mounded shell

Each Pad is created from an extremely durable, formed polycarbonate shell, created for outdoor use. The Pads are made for aggressive interaction and public use. Each Pad is also waterproof and can be placed outdoors in virtually any type of environment and on virtually any type of surface (even within very shallow water).

The Pool can run off of a single 110V AC household outlet, a solar array, or a simple, small, outdoor generator. Because the pool is a light installation it is best to operate it at night.


The Pool is large but simple to install. At full size, it can expand to 75 feet x 75 feet , or at its smallest size it can contract down to 37 feet x 37 feet. Installation involves setting each of the 120 Pool Pads down, applying power (via a power grid created for The Pool that requires 2 normal wattage household outlets), and turning The Pool on. The Pool is water and weather proof, and can be placed outdoors on almost any type of surface. When placed outdoors there are several methods for securing the Pool to the ground. When outside, the pool power cables (show in RED (left)) will need to be either trenched and buried under the ground, or covered (with sod, ground cover, or cable covers.) Each pad in The Pool communicates with its neighboring pads via a wireless xbee controller. No master computer or technical setup is required. The Pool configures its own network automatically. 

 The Pool was made possible through an Artist Grant from Burning Man.

This text was taken from Jen Lewin’s website and can be found here: 

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  1. Pingback: Jen Lewin Lights Up UCA | Muse Magazine

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