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Sirovich Family Student Scholar – Elliot Lovegrove
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Helio Takai & Andrew Freiband 

Digital computing plays a role in almost every area of contemporary life, but many people lack even a basic knowledge of its fundamentals. When that’s combined with complex, microscopic manufacturing and hurdles thrown up to discourage repairs, the end result is that most people have very little agency with the tools they use every day. The more these trends continue, the more vulnerable we become, left in the hands of the few who continue to make the magic happen. Putting things in “black boxes” also creates a feedback loop—hidden components stay ugly, which means they stay hidden—that shuts down a host of artistic possibilities. 

Luminous Computing focuses on making the inner workings of computing more visible, more accessible, and more beautiful. Electroluminescent paint (which lights up as current flows around it) allows us to take the normally-invisible flow of electricity through a circuit and wed it to a visual result. We’re going back to the very basics, using core logic gate structures—AND, OR, NOR—as the basis of illuminated (and interactive!) painted designs. By watching (and even helping) the current change its path through colorfully painted shapes, viewers have a chance to relate to computing in a very different way. 

This project was on exhibition at the Pfizer Building  (Brooklyn, NYC) 2022.