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Go Behind The Scenes Of Leo Villareal's Monumental Light Sculpture The Bay Lights

The artist discusses how he decked out San Francisco's Bay Bridge with thousands of LEDs.
March 26, 2013, 4:01pm

On the March 5, 2013 San Francisco's Bay Bridge lit up with 25,000 LEDs courtesy of Leo Villareal's installation The Bay Lights. The huge light sculpture will be illuminating the bridge for the next two years as locals get to see a magnificent display on a nightly basis.

Courtesy of The Bay Lights. Photography by Lucas Saugen

Courtesy of The Bay Lights. Photography by Lucas Saugen

In the video above light sculptor Villareal discusses how this project ties in with his previous work, where the idea is to create a communal space. For The Bay Lights Villareal worked with the dynamics of the bridge—traffic, water, light, air, wildlife—to guide the sequencing of the patterns. Patterns created using a process known as "emergent behavior", which means each sequence is unique and unpredictable every time the bridge lights up.

Courtesy of The Bay Lights. Photography by Lucas Saugen

Courtesy of The Bay Lights. Photography by Lucas Saugen

For such a large scale work it's no surprise that it's become a focal point for the local community, a place for them to come and marvel and appreciate their city. "For me the most successful art changes the way you see things, you can't see things the same way once you've seen a great piece of art," Villareal notes.

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In the two years that it will be installed, it's estimated that over 50 million people will directly see the piece—to get an idea of how the public have taken the piece to their hearts so far, take a look at some of the reactions from Twitter and Instagram below.

The lighting of the bay bridge shows how art can transform a city and ina moment. #baylights #sanfrancisco twitter.com/RogerLBarnett/…

— Roger Barnett (@RogerLBarnett) March 6, 2013

I'll never get tired of the SF Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge. Could b all night watching this! Memories of Burning Man. twitter.com/fonziewonzie/s…

— Afonso Salcedo (@fonziewonzie) March 23, 2013

#SF #BayBridge lit up tonight. Eat your heart out, Golden Gate Bridge! Photo by Glenn W. twitter.com/TheGraceKeh/st…

— Grace Keh (@TheGraceKeh) March 6, 2013

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Check out these GIFs of the sculpture too, courtesy of Mr. GIF

@stewart23rd