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Help make Buffalo an orchestra of light on May 4

The City Lights Orchestra project, which uses city windows to create a symphony of blinking lights, is coming to Buffalo as part of the MediaCities Conference planned by UB

Release Date: April 24, 2013

BUFFALO, N.Y. – On May 4, Buffalo residents are invited to help turn parts of downtown Buffalo and Allentown into a symphony of blinking, multi-colored lights as part of artist Antoine Schmitt’s “City Lights Orchestra” project.

The project — part of the MediaCities Conference that the University at Buffalo is hosting in early May — asks city residents to use their windows to create a symphony lights that blink in concert with one another.

Buffalo organizations including media arts center Squeaky Wheel have agreed to participate. Members of the public are invited to join the orchestra by turning off their lights and logging into the orchestra website via smartphone, laptop, tablet or computer at dusk on Saturday, May 4.

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to www.citylightsorchestra.net, which will pull up a website displaying various colors of pulsating light.
  • Face your device toward a white or light-colored surface in a room with a window facing the street.
  • Make sure to switch off screensavers or energy-saving settings.

Organizers encourage all residents of Buffalo to participate, but the main focus is on generating participation in the neighborhoods around Allen Street and the 500 to 700 block of Main Street.

The City Lights Orchestra is one of several works that will be on public display through the MediaCities Conference, which examines how digital technologies shape the way people experience cities and urban life — especially in cities in the process of reinventing themselves and their economies.

The orchestra is timed to coincide with the May 4 opening of a MediaCities Conference pop-up gallery at 743 Main St., Buffalo. The opening reception, which will take place on Saturday, May 4, from 7-10 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, May 11.

Works on display will include photographs from artist Paolo Cirio’s “Street Ghosts,” a project that places life-sized posters of people found on Google’s Street View in the same spot where the original Street View images were taken. The posters are printed in color on thin paper, cut along the outline of the people, and then affixed on the walls of public buildings at the precise spot where the people appear in Google’s Street View image.

Julian Oliver, artist in residence in the Techne Institute for Art and Emerging Technologies at UB, will present “Border Bumping,” a dislocative media project that maps the discrepancies between national borders and those defined by mobile phone networks. Running a freely available, custom-built smartphone application, Border Bumping agents collect cell tower and location data as they traverse the U.S./Canada border in trains, cars, buses, boats or on foot. Moments of discrepancy at the edges are logged and uploaded to the central Border Bumping server, which generates real-time maps of these fluxuating border conditions.

Information on gallery works is available at http://mediacities.net/site/exhibition/.

Besides the exhibition, the MediaCities Conference will include lectures as well as workshops that give attendees the chance to learn new media skills. For example, in a workshop called “NeuroVision,” participants will film moving cars and other urban motions in Buffalo, and learn to use a video-processing software to turn those basic recordings into works of digital art.

Media Contact Information

Rachel Teaman
Communications Officer
School of Architecture and Planning
Tel: 716-829-3794
rmansour@buffalo.edu