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Lauren McCarthy and David Wicks, Bumps in the Night

Mill City Silos

Bumps in the Night

Bumps in the Night is a visual and audio portrait of the Northern Spark festival night in Minneapolis, revealing nocturnal narratives shaped by people’s stories and the changing environment of the city. The story of the night unfolds in real time, cascading down the silos to the ground, leaving a trail of history. Five alternating dynamic streams tell different data-backed stories and create visual forms that are translated into audio for a complementary immersive sensory experience.

Data are collected from participants at Northern Spark and Eyeo via a mobile application. Festival attendees can add their stories, movements, and moments to streams with their smart phones or through Twitter and Facebook. Other data are gathered about the nighttime of Minneapolis, from nocturnal animal activity to taxicab business to people’s brain waves to the carbon exchange occurring in plants around us. These sources and stories were discovered through research and conversations with local organizations in the Minneapolis area. These historically derived quantitative flows play in time alongside the qualitative data streams.

While these streams play out visually down the length of the silos, the data are translated into audio that plays back through a series of speakers surrounding the installation area. The sound stream can also be experienced via the mobile application.

Bumps in the Night is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lauren McCarthy

Lauren McCarthy is a artist, designer, and programmer. She focuses on the structures and systems of social interactions, identity, and self-representation and the potential for technology to mediate, manipulate, and evolve these interactions. She holds an MFA from UCLA and a BS in computer science and a BS in art and design from MIT. Exhibitions of her art blur the boundaries between art, design, and everyday life and have been held at LACMA, the Japan Media Arts Festival, SIGGRAPH, the Conflux Festival, the File Festival, and the WIRED Store. At her current studio, Sosolimited, and formerly at Small Design Firm, she has worked on installations for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, IBM, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia.

David Wicks

David Wicks is an artist exploring landscape systems and our relationship to the environment. He uses a combination of manual and computational techniques to produce maps, drawings, animations, and interactive applications. His work has been shown in a variety of contexts, including the Surfing Art Science and Issues Conference at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla; the Dry Immersion Symposium in Joshua Tree, California; the DUMBO art festival in Brooklyn; and a garden-themed group show in a Shanghai warehouse. His art is featured in Written Images, a generative book project initiated by Martin Fuchs. He holds an MFA from the Design Media Arts program at UCLA and an undergraduate degree in architecture from Miami University.