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
- 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
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
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
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