Cambridge will be splashed with an extra pop of color Sunday night. More than 300 umbrellas retrofitted with multi-color LED lights will be painting the sky as part of a large-scale live performance piece called “UP: The Umbrella Project.”
The event is the product of a collaboration between the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Pilobolus, a dance company based in Connecticut. This is the duo’s second performance together, and will be taking place at 7:45 p.m. on MIT’s Jack Barry Field, May 19th.
Participants will be provided an umbrella lined with red, green and blue LED lights. Using hand controllers designed by researchers in the MIT Distributed Robotics Lab at CSAIL, UP-goers will be given the ability to independently change the color of their umbrella as they traverse the field, creating a colorful, ever-changing display of live art. Video of the movement will be projected onto a large inflatable screen, so umbrella holders can actually see what they are creating as a whole.
“Our work deals with developing algorithms that allow robots to operate independently within a large decentralized network so that the robots can coordinate and work together to accomplish a common task,” said Dr. Kyle Gilpin, a postdoctoral associate at CSAIL, in a press release. “Through UP, we can study the behaviors of large groups, which can be applied to our research in robotics.”
The first rendition of UP was performed back in October at PopTech in Camden, Maine. Footage from the premiere can be seen below.
Unfortunately, the participatory element of Sunday’s event is reserved for members of the MIT community, but the general public is welcome to attend. After you watch the video, there’s no doubt you will want to be there.