Interview with a solar powered sculpture – meet Ray

Ray is an interactive, talking light sculpture coming to VIVID Sydney 2014. Ray is one of the first installations on the Vivid light walk to be solar powered.

With installation design duo amigo & amigo, interactivity designers S1T2 and experience design crew Wildwon, Ray was designed to grow public awareness of the great work of Pollinate Energy solving energy poverty in India with solar power.

During Vivid, you can find out anything and everything you’d like to know about Ray by using the hashtag #HiRay and visiting the links below. @say_hiray facebook instagram

What made you decide to work with Pollinate Energy and who else are you collaborating with on this project?

I was inspired by Pollinate Energy’s mission to improve the lives of the urban poor by giving them access to solar power. I was amazed to hear that solar lighting can have so many benefits for poor families, ranging from kids excelling at school because they can now do their homework in the evening, to mothers doing less cleaning because there is less soot in the house. So many parts of life were negatively impacted by unclean energy sources, and Pollinate Energy are on the ground making a difference. They’ve removed kerosene from the homes of more than 20,000 people in Bangalore’s urban slums.

Apart from Pollinate Energy, I have also had the pleasure to work with a cool collective of design teams.

Sculpture designers amigo & amigo were the ones who came up with my shape and form, and who are getting me ‘dressed up’ for my first appearance on the Sydney foreshore. Interactivity gurus S1T2 have given me a helping hand so that I can communicate with you all in person. Wildwon have worked intensively with me to shape my personality and get my online presence ready for action, and Southern Cross University are helping me come alive with their awesome Sunflower solar panels and creative soundscape design.

I’ve also had the joy of being checked off by AECOM’s structural designers, built and fabricated by Autobake, lighting support from OnLED and, importantly, a lot of help from our major sponsor PwC.

Name three artificial life forms or technologies that inspire you.

1. Solar panels! Oh my goodness, did you know that you can now make roof tiles out of solar panels. There are also paper thin, flexible solar panels in development, that can turn absolutely anything into a solar panel – the roof of a car, the front of a back pack, wearable solar, you name it. Did you know that all of the coal, oil and gas known to humans has the same amount of energy as the sun shines down onto the earth in just 20 days? We’re crazy not to be harnessing it.

2. I’m excited by SCiO – a handheld device that will change the way we interact with the world around us. This gadget is a scanner which contains a molecular sensor – so it can tell you about the properties of anything it is pointed at – for example it could tell you the property of metals, the chemical make up of food or how healthy your plants are. It could also help to create the world’s first smart database of matter.

3. 4D Printing. You may have heard of 3D printing. Now imagine things that assemble themselves! An expert in 4D printing – Skylar Tibbit – will be at Vivid with me – have a read and come check it out!

Name four people or things you’d really like to meet at Vivid.

  1. At Vivid Light – I’m dying to meet the Sydney Opera House. I’ve been a huge admirer of her work – not just the postcards and touristy stuff, but what’s going on behind the sails as well – for example, Greening the House. Her projection mapping displays have been a stand out at Vivid in the past so it’ll be great to see what she does this year – huge fan.
  2. At Vivid Music – I want to meet Lauryn Hill. That song of hers Doo Wop (That Thing) that goes: ‘that thing, that thing, that thi-ing’ – I feel like she wrote that song about me.
  3. Lord Mayor Clover Moore – for her greening Sydney initiatives. I really love the City of Forking Paths artwork she supported that takes people on a digital and real-world journey around Sydney.
  4. Vivid Ideas – I’d really like to meet Kat Kimmorley. Kat is the Founding Director of Pollinate Energy, a Financial Review 100 Women of Influence in 2013 and winner of the UN Momentum for Change Award. They say: never meet your heroes, but wow, I hope I get to meet her!

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