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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

On Glowing by Brian Bednarski

Process: On Glowing

October 29, 2013

About this project:
As a symbol of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ unique communication and independent work style, in addition to having VCFA students and faculty working all over the world at all different times, I designed a light installation using both IFTTT and WeMo to remotely activate and glow as we communicated with each other and shared VCFA work over the internet.

VCFA never closes; there’s a good chance VCFA work is being done at any moment anywhere in the world. This light installation, which I called On Glowing, represented this.

Participation, via a variety of social media channels, activated the On Glowing light installation. For example, one email to OnGlowing@VCFA.edu or a new post to Instagram would activate the animated lights for a short period of time. The installation, containing 250 bulbs, was mounted on the front doors of College Hall on the campus of Vermont College of Fine Arts from October 14th – 19th, 2013 for students and faculty to observe and interact with.

Those not on campus were be able to view and interact with the light sculpture via a live camera feed. So, students and faculty from other VCFA programs were able to watch the light activate from their social media participation while working on their laptop at home.

How It Works:
IFTTT is a service that allows anyone to create a ‘recipe’ that fits a simple structure, if this then that. The ‘this’ part of a recipe is a trigger. One of On Glowing’s most used triggers was ‘If On Glowing receives an email with VCFA in the subject line.’ The ‘that’ part of a recipe is the action. In this case the action is ‘turn the WeMo switch on then off’. A WeMo switch is a Belkin product with the ability to be controlled from anywhere in the world via the internet. So, simply put, when an email comes into OnGlowing@VCFA.eduwith ‘VCFA’ in the subject line, the light installation is activated. This recipe was one of many!
On Glowing by Brian Bednarski
SAMPLE TRIGGERS:
 • If Jess, Rachael, etc..uploads a photo to Instagram, On Glowing turns on and off.
• If I receive an email with ‘VCFA’ in subject light, On Glowing turns on and off.
• If I upload an image to Flickr, On Glowing turns on and off.
• If I like a photo on Instagram it is sent to Twitter, which also triggers On Glowing.
On Glowing by Brian Bednarski
On Glowing by Brian Bednarski

(L) 250′ of wiring, (R) Close up of On Glowing mounted on College Hall’s front entrance

View more of Brian Bednarski’s work on his website!