MIT Will Color The Nighttime Sky Using Umbrellas


The MIT faculty, students and staff will be lighting up the Cambridge sky during the 2nd performance of the UP. UP will bring together members of the MIT community to participate in a large scale live performance piece with the use of umbrellas outfitted with the LED lights. The project is called Umbrella Project which will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at exactly 7:45pm. It is a collaboration between the Artificial Intelligence Lab or CSAIL and the MIT Computer Science together with the internationally acclaimed dance company, Pilobolus.

The UP participants will each be provided with an umbrella equipped LED lights that has a color of blue, red and green. With the use of the hand controllers that is designed by the researchers in the MIT Distributed Robotics Lab at the CSAIL. The participants will be able to independently change the color of the umbrellas they are using. With the guidance of the Pilobolus creative team, the UP participants will traverse the field and will manipulate the hue of their umbrellas which will create a colorful and ever changing display of a live art.

Details About The Collaboration Between The Distributed Robotics and The Pilobolus

UP has premiered at the PopTech Conference in Maine last October 2012 when about 300 participants have transformed a rainy sky into a sea of changing colors. This will be the second time the Distributed Robotics and the Pilobolus will be collaborating in a project. The 2 organizations first joined forces on Seraph which is a performance piece that involves human dancers and flying robots. The Distributed Robotics is being led by the CSAIL Director Daniela Rus. Although they work with the robotics and Pilobolus work with the modern dance which may seem a bit unrelated at first, but the two groups have found that there is a wealth of knowledge that will gained at the intersection of art and science. This will offer a deep insight into the human behavior and findings that will be useful to the field of computer science.

Statements From The Distributed Robotics and The Pilobolus

The project will be bringing together a large group of people that will participate in an collective effort that will fit well with the overall research goal of the Distributed Robotics Lab. An associate at the CSAIL, Dr. Kyle Gilpin said that the work deals with developing algorithms that will allow the robots to operate on their own within a large decentralized network that so that the robots will be able to coordinate and work together and eventually accomplish a common goal. The CSAIL Director Rus commented that they are thrilled with their collaboration with the Pilobolus for the 2nd time and bringing the UP to MIT. The performance will be providing an exciting community for the MIT students to come together and participate in a piece of art.

Executive Director of the Pilobolus, Itamar Kubovy said that they have discovered that Daniela Rus is also interested in the same questions they have about the power of groups and the idea that the groups are more capable rather than the sum of their parts. UP also works to demonstrate this reality through giving a group of untrained strangers tricked out umbrellas and 6 minutes to create something that is beautiful and moving.
To those who are interested to participate in UP, you should arrive at the Jack Barry Field at 7:45pm on Sunday, May 19. The performances will be filmed and photographed for the promotional purposes. The participants must be at least 18 years of age and must also be affiliated with the MIT.


About Author

Marie Valentine

Marie Valentine work for The Tech Articles as an associate writer. She graduated from University Santo Tomas with a Bachelor of Science.

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