An interactive, kinetic sculpture at the Science Mill unravels visible light to teach visitors of all ages about the properties of additive color.

In accordance with the Hill Country Science Mill’s mission to inspire and support the next generation of STEM workers, the museum sought to commission a new interactive installation to inhabit a renovated grain silo. The Hill Country Science Mill reached out to Patten Studio to concept and create an interactive artwork to occupy the silo and combine STEM education with collaborative play.

In Light Loom, a cord spanning the entire 40’ height of the silo is spun by an attached motor, generating a waveform. The cord is lit from beneath with white light. As the cord ripples, a retinal persistence optical illusion splits the white light up into its constitutive colors.

Children engage the sculpture through an interface made of touch-free optical sensors. Each sensor represents one of the primary colors in additive color theory: red, green, and blue. These sensors control the LED color input being shone through the sculpture from below, resulting in different additive color combinations. By playing with the sculpture, visitors discover that red and green form yellow, red and blue form magenta, blue and green form cyan, and white light is produced when all three primary colors coincide.

Light Loom is the fourth exhibit Patten Studio has created for the Hill Country Science Mill since it opened in 2015.

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