New York-based artist Leo Villareal is set to install a 30-foot tall “Buckyball” sculpture comprised of 180 glowing LED tubes in Madison Square Park later this year. The sculpture will be formed of one LED rendition of the distinct spherical fullerene structures nested inside another. The installation promises to have an extraordinary dynamic presence in the park as programmable pixels located every 1.2 inches throughout the tubes will have the capacity to glow in any one of 16 million colors.
Buckminster Fuller-designed Montreal Biosphere, via Wikimedia Commons
A veteran of interactive LED art, Villareal faces a significant mathematical and programming endeavor in Buckyball. Once the 180 LED tubes are formed into the geodesic spheres—specifically mammoth representations of carbon-60 molecules—he will use custom software to program combinations of colors, to be ‘played’ in a random sequence. Speaking to GalleristNY Villareal explained, “The way I work there’s a lot of chance in the initial programming… I’m waiting for something compelling to happen. And then I capture that moment. And then there’s another full process of refinement and recombining. In the end there are set sequences that are displayed in a random order and for a random amount of time.”
Debbie Landau, President of Madison Square Park Conservancy—who commissioned the sculpture—expressed to ArtDaily that Buckyball will be “apt for Madison Square Park’s unique landscape. It shares much in common with the shifting colors and light of the fall season. It will animate the park throughout the fall and winter with its ever-shifting light.”
Beyond an ethereal presence, the sculpture also promises to bring a bold, colorful—and huge—representation of the tiny elements which make up our world while paying homage to the late architect and designer Buckminster Fuller. The carbon structures termed ‘fullerenes” were named for Buckminster Fuller, recognized widely for his creation of large geodesic domes beginning in the 1940s.
Leo Villareal’s Buckyball will be on display in Madison Square Park October 25 2012 through February 2013.
Lead Image courtesy Leo Villareal