Before there was the Kindle and the Sony Reader, there were paperback novels, newspapers, magazines, made of tangible materials, like paper and ink. One could ride the subway and sneak a glimpse into the mind of his fellow passengers without ever exchanging a word; the title printed on the cover of the book you were reading might reveal volumes about your interests and curiosities. With the invasion of e-books and e-readers, there is just no way to tell what people are reading these days. Designers Brian W. Bush and Yong Ju Lee of E/B Office New York changed that with their Filament Mind installation that debuted in late January at the grand opening of the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming.
Filament Mind is a complex and intricately crafted ceiling installation comprised of over 1,000 fiber-optic cables (totaling over 5 miles) and 44 LED illuminators connected to data processing systems in libraries all across the state of Wyoming. The cables, which are categorized according to the Dewey Decimal System, continuously flash different colors according to the specific words and subjects (for example: “landscape architecture” or “computer methods”) that people enter into the library search system. As users click into different categories and explore new content, the cables burst into an array of colors, making for a truly interactive user experience.
With this larger-than-life sized installation Brush and Lee have not only created a visually stunning experience but have also presented library visitors with a unique opportunity to communicate with one another, share and exchange ideas, and inspire each other to delve into subjects that might normally be off their radar.
Additionally, the artists honor the donors who funded the project by equipping the installation with a “donor mode.” Periodically the cables will burst into a brilliant light show, randomly glowing from green to pink to blue to yellow.
The effect of this technologically detailed installation provides library visitors with a seemingly magical light show that has encouraged people from all across the state to make a trip to the library. “It’s the heart of the community, it’s where people come to share their ideas, and to explore new things to enrich their lives,” says artist Brian Brush.