Maja Petrić


We Are All Made Of Light



The immersive experience emulates constellation in which every person becomes one among the stars. The natural beauty of the universe is evoked to reveal connections between us and the rest of the world that often stay hidden in the plain sight. As visitors move through the galaxy of stars, the light is extruded in their shape, living light trails of their presence across the starscape. Once visitors leave, their trails of light remain in the constellation and are added to the collection of trails that others have left behind. With every new visit, the number of light trails increases and reflects the growing history of the space. Each new person visiting the space is immersed in starscape filled with light that marks the presence of everybody who was part of the piece. Over time, the exhibiting space became an archive of people's presence and evidence of how all of us are connected to others, past and present.

The technological system driven by AI was developed in collaboration with computer scientist, Mihai Jalobeanu. The system recognizes people in space, detects their bodies, records their silhouettes and projects them back into space in shape of stars. The system is programmed to continuously change the look and feel of people’s silhouettes based on the rest of the content and activities in space. It algorithmically impacts the evolution of the narrative in so that the experience is ever-changing but within the logic of the piece. Each silhouette is set to reappear at later times to connect with real-time people in the space. The choice, position and time of the projected silhouettes changes based on detected behavior of people in space. In so, these interactive technologies provided me with a new set of tools for shaping the experience of interconnectedness that would not be possible otherwise. It led to an opportunity to create poetic connections with people who passed through the piece at different times.

The sound is developed by Marcin Pączkowski to accompany the interactive visual experience of being one among the stars.

As an artist, my goal is to elicit transformative sensory, cognitive and visceral experiences. My approach is based on the study of the primordial human connection to nature, biophilia. According to the biophilia hypothesis that was introduced by American biologist Edward O. Wilson, human beings have an innate instinct to connect emotionally with nature. As such, I use nature and human connection to light as a switch that can awaken people’s awareness and engagement. The reason I use this method is to create universally visceral content that is evocative to most. For a similar reason, I rely on use of light that is everywhere and shapes every single visual experience we have. As human beings, we are evolutionarily programmed to respond to it. As such, I use it as a tool that can create immersion, especially when it’s coupled with sound, movement, and interactivity.

With this piece I intended to create a moment where both time and space loose shape and one can only experience the visceral richness of light and sound that emulates the vast and interconnected universe. My desire is that such experience leads to consideration about how much we are aware of the mark we leave behind and trails left by our fellow humans? Can we see how we all alike shape our environments, the spatial memory of our environment? What would being immersed in this mesh of trails lend us in the understanding of each other and our collective?

- Maja Petrić

The first edition of We Are All Made Of Light was developed with support of MadArt Studio in Seattle, WA

Explore more of Maja’s artwork on her website.

Copyright of Maja Petric

Copyright of Maja Petric