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PixMob: Turning Crowds Into Light Canvases

Watch our doc on PixMob, whose LED-embedded wearables turn audiences into living lights spectacles.

by The Creators Project
Mar 21 2014, 4:00pm

"The idea of PixMob was to think of people as pixel-wearers, they are going to create a light canvas," says Vincent Leclerc, the CTO of PixMob, a design studio that focuses on turning live events into immersive spectacles by inserting LEDs in ordinary objects, subsequently making them magical. Whether it's embedding LEDs in hats given out to Super Bowl XLVIII attendees in February, or creating colorful, blinking bracelets for concert-goers to wear at Tiësto's Hakkasan residency in Las Vegas, PixMob is evolving cultural milestones into illuminated extravaganzas.

The Creators Project was fascinated in how they create wearable LED devices that enable wireless, living artwork, and so we made a doc on the company that's turning crowds into light paintings in real time. Watch our documentary on PixMob above, and continue reading to get more details on the cutting-edge team. 

Sochi 2014 Winter Games; Photo courtesy of PixMob

The studio has been turning live shows into dazzling, participatory events since 2011 when they collaborated with Chris Milk and Arcade Fire for Summer Into Dust, the encore to the band's Coachella set where a sea of giant beach balls filled with colored LEDs were dropped onto the crowd—an ebullient finale to a momentous performance that The Creators Project documented with a video piece. PixMob has since worked on several other concerts, as well as the Olympic Opening Ceremony at Sochi, each project hypnotic in its own right.
After PixMob gives visitors wristbands, hats, or other wearables with LEDs, they use infrared commands sent from strategically-placed computers to advance a simple light show into an interactive happening. In other words, crowds are turned into moving, breathing video screens. As Tiësto added in our doc, PixMob's technology "Makes the crowd euphoric and inspires the feeling that they're all in it together. 

"Since the beginning of PixMob," said Leclerc, "we've been working with raw electronic components to create the technologies our collective experiences. We've been using microprocessors on our pixels the size of a coin that are comparable to what was used to land on the moon 50 years ago. And now we're at a point where we're be able to embed all processing and decoding within the LEDs we use. Something the size of a grain of rice."

On working with musicians, such as Tiësto, The Black Keys, and others, Leclerc added, "They inspire us with their own vision of collective experience, creative content, and how to build an emotional crescendo with a crowd. When the artist feels there's a peak in the show and wants to bring it to another level, we active PixMob's technology and complement that peaking moment." 

PixMob focuses on inspiring a sense of intimacy between strangers in a crowd, a shared emotional experience among people where they are all participating in one stunning experience.

Leclerc articulates this beautiful project succinctly: "The light aspect is nice but where we have the most opportunity is when there's interaction. By re-inventing technology and by making our own types of media, we can create a moment of magic where people are in a state of wonder and realize they're part of a whole...not just sitting and watching a show."

Super Bowl XLVIII; Photo courtesy of PixMob

Sochi 2014 Winter Games; Photo courtesy of PixMob

Super Bowl XLVIII; Photo courtesy of PixMob