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This Solar-Powered Tornado Sculpture Lights Up And "Talks" To You

Ray is an eco-friendly light installation at Vivid Festival in Sydney that has a personality of its own.

Last week, The Creators Project shared amazing photographs of the Sydney Opera Housing getting animated with spectacular lights as part of the Vivid arts festival in Australia. While the projection mapping spectacle was undeniably mesmerizing, another installation at Vivid goes an extra step in bringing a structure to life with lights. Ray, a project by Pollinate Energy and a variety of other collaborators, is Vivid's first ever talking, solar-powered sculpture to appear at the festival.


At 23-feet-tall, Ray looks like a colorful tornado made of Christmas lights. Ropes dangle off its sides, and when visitors pull on the loose vines, the structure instaneously is illuminated. From their hands, light streams up towards the apex of the sculpture, then spirals back down in a surge of color and sound—all powered by the sun. Viewers can also gaze through the "roots" of Ray, as the lights are wrapped in clear silicon tubes.

Pollinate Energy is known for installing solar lighting in India's urban slums, and this installation strives to raise awareness in Australia about the company's work. As the infographic above details, the solar energy Ray has captured so far could power nearly 3,000 homes in India for a night. The installation is powered by "Sunflower," a solar-powered mobile rig developed by the Southern Cross University. See more about its green aspects on this time-lapse project page.

As for the talking part, if visitors Tweet using the hashtag #hiray or visit the project's Storify page, the design piece will respond with an update like "zzz… I'm resting #rightnow," thanks to some awesome interactive additions by digital creative agency S1T2. As the creators note, "Ray is no ordinary sculpture, he is also a personality, a guy you can hang out with, and who will give you an update on how he is feeling."

#HiRay is a talking, interactive & renewable light install at #Sydney's @VividSydney! Check it

— Trending City (@Trending_City) May 26, 2014


Ray will be lighting up at night through the end of the Vivid festival, which ends on June 9th. For more information on the project, visit the installation's "making of" page, including behind-the-scenes photos from the installation design team amigo and amigo. To see all the collaborators on this project, visit Pollinate Energy's bio page on Ray here.

Images and online interactivity embeds, courtesy of Wildwon


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