Patrick Lichty: Pixelboxes

  • ©,






    Lasercut wood, LEDs, microcontrollers


    12" x 38" x 38"


Artist Statement:

    Pixelboxes is deceptively simple in appearance, but is an experiment in emergent behavior. The piece consists of a grid of 36 color-chang­ing LEDs that contain very small microprocessors. When powered up simultaneously, the LEDs begin as all red. But because of minuscule differences in the manufacturing process, timing changes occur, and the grid of LEDs create patterns of red, green, and blue. The result is a study in complex interactions shown as a visual display.

    Conceptually, Pixelboxes creates “characters” or “calligrams” (to quote Foucault) that hint at the legible symbol, but never quite get there. Pixelboxes also is informed by John Simon’s “Every Icon” work, which cycles through every possibility in a 32 x 32 pixel grid, creating every icon imaginable.

Technical Information:

    Pixelboxes consists of a laser-cut sculpture and lattice that holds 36 color-changing LEDs, each section representing a “pixel” in the 6 x 6 icon. While each of the LEDs has a preset pattern of sequential flashes, differences in the processors inside the RGB LED create slight differences in timing. In addition, the different power require­ments of the red, green, and blue LEDs cause further instability in the timing of the circuit.