​This digitally interactive installation consists of folded mulberry paper illuminated with LED lights and daylight to create a multi-sensory space that responds to people’s presence and behavior. The installation creates an ephemeral place of gathering through light. This is achieved by integrating technology (Arduino boards controlled by MaxMSP programming) that enables people’s interaction with their environment and with each other, and by running a public workshop in which the viewers also become the makers of the work. Three ultrasonic sensors were placed in each of the five bays to read presence and activities of people and alter the light hues and sound qualities in response.


The installation was participatory at multiple levels: first, during the process of communal production; then later when people moved through the space beneath the lanterns to participate in viewing and discovering of the shifting light and sound.

Lantern Field is one of dozen international projects to receive a 2013 Architectural Lighting Design Award.

Aki Ishida as Design Director and Lighting Designer

Digital interaction and sound art by Ico Bukvic, Brennon Bortz, and Benjamin Knapp of Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts & Technology

Design and fabrication of lanterns and bamboo frames:
Students in Ishida's Second Year Architecture Studio at Virginia Tech, 2012/13:
Tamiko Acuna, Forrest Bibeau, Joaquin Chacon, Mykayla Fernandes, Megan Gileza, Sarah Hill, John Iaconis, Jeremy Jones, Veronique Rodriguez, Samantha Sturgill, and Zachary Wolk

Videography: Danny Kang

Photography: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art
Washington, DC (2013)