Kinetic Installation

The Beacons is a kinetic content system that opens windows into a virtual world, sound tracked to Thom Yorke’s “Coloured Candy.”

The first solo show for Marcus Wainwright since the departure of David Neville, the SS17 production enveloped the entire space, featuring an inverted, room-sized zoetrope created from three, 8-foot, 0.5 ton, motorized projectors.

For Rag and Bone’s Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week runway show, Patten Studio teamed up with TEM Studio and Vincent de Belleval to create The Beacons. Each of these seven foot tall platforms supported a large video projector and rotated it under computer control, throwing video throughout the 150 yard long space over the heads of the models wearing Rag and Bone’s new collection. The movement of the beacons elevated them from being a simple projection stand to a spectacle in their own right, evoking the notion of a searchlight, complementing the motion graphics rotating through the space. The visuals were particularly compelling when coupled with fog machines, which gave a three dimensional shape to the moving cones of light.

Technical Details

The custom motor control hardware was developed as part of a reusable toolkit for computer controlled motion of large, heavy objects. Each rotating light beacon was driven by the Patten Studio motor controller that uses RS485 for communication, allowing one computer to send commands to multiple controllers on a network that spans a large area.

The controller can deliver up to 30 amps at 50 volts, providing plenty of power for moving the projectors, which was needed to rotate the 100 lb. projector and frame. A 4:1 ratio belt drive connected the projectors to the motors. Implementing a slipring allowed us to carry the SDI video signal, despite the constant rotation of projectors, which meant wireless transmission problems were avoided all together. 


Patten Studio
Beacon Electronics, Mechanics, Programming and Fabrication
  • Colored Candy, Thom Yorke
    Music composed arranged and performed by Thom Yorke
  • TEM Studio in collaboration with Vincent de Belleval
    Visuals, Art Direction and Programming
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