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88:88 light face assembly

Typeforce 88:88

A Collective Reset

November 2016 was, for many, a rude awakening, followed by a month of confusion and apprehension. Coming up on the new year, we resolved to pull the plug on the season behind us and get to work. With Typeforce 8 around the corner, we wanted to create a space for our community to hit a collective refresh button and let a little light shine in. We call it 88:88.

Client

Typeforce

Industry

Art + Design

Services

People walking past 88:88 Light Installation

CREATING A RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENT WITH TYPE

Imagine a digital clock upon the moment of reset. When fully illuminated, a segmented display represents measuring time, either minutes elapsed or remaining. It suggests we pause to reflect on what we may have missed as we tuned out and unplugged from the world around us. Upon reboot we come back online with a passion to re-engage.

Detail Shot of 88:88 Light Installation
88:88 light installation seen from sidewalk

The 88:88 installation was meant to reflect, react and respond. The piece flashed to its own rhythm while allowing influence from the noise of the crowd. One pattern set in relation to another resulted in an unexpected conversation.

Process shot of 88:88 construction
Rear detail of 88:88 light installation
People walking in front of 88:88 light installation
Construction of 88:88 light installation
88:88 installation with window reflection
88:88 with window reflection
detail shot of 88:88 light feature
88:88 light installation with window reflection
People walking in front of 88:88 light installation

PROCESS: DESIGN & MATERIAL SELECTION

We started with the abstract idea of illumination—a slow build that reveals light in darkness. Using cheap materials in repetition created a solution that is elegant, magical, even dreamlike. We assembled 88:88 with a mix of custom-built and off-the-shelf materials: plaster poured into plastic grids from drop-ceiling light fixtures, T8 fluorescent bulbs hand-wired to AC plugs, A Grade wood cut to produce 8-foot numbers, a DJ light controller with a microphone input and lots of 3M Velcro tape.

88:88 construction with forstner bit
88:88 assembly with fluorescent tubes
88:88 construction
soldering 88:88 wiring connections
8888 Window 11
88:88 light face assembly
88:88 light face assembly
discussing assembly details of 88:88
detail of 88:88 power supply
detail shot of 88:88 light installation

BUILD & INSTALLATION

As one might expect with any wild experiment, we hit a few snags. Poured into the grids, the plaster should have taken 4 days to harden. With the cold temperature in the gallery window, it simply refused to dry. After much sweating (the plaster and our nerves), we popped out each individual pixel in the grid to create a gradient-like effect. What a pain! Bloody fingers, dried skin, tedious work.

88:88 light face assembly
final installation of 88:88
final installation of 88:88
detail of 88:88 plaster knock-outs

This one really came down to the wire. (For real, like mere minutes from opening.) But it all worked out in the end and the final effect surprised even us. Combined with the warm wood light fixtures, the plaster grid faces created a smooth yellow glow against the wall. The unpredictable flashing pattern was entrancing; at times it looked like it was debating itself, one opinion fighting another. Other times it appeared to reach a calm, rational agreement—something we’re hoping to see more of in the years ahead.