Domestic Light | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Domestic Light


The project question – what is the color of home – yields a complex array of answers: the particular blue of a winter coastal sky after a rain, the yellow of one’s inherited incandescent lamp, the slate-grey of afternoon rain. Part violet, part teal, part blue, part red, part yellow – none are readily reduced to the Red, Green and Blue of computer screens and print – but by observing the full spectrum of light Domestic Light opens a window into the nuance of human perception.

Domestic Light is year long time-lapse media art project by Ian Winters, using a global network of multi-spectral color sensors hosted in home windowsills in every time zone worldwide(if possible)to explore the nature of our relationship to the character of light, home and the passage of time. Recording the shifting color of domestic light worldwide day to day and year to year, the sensor data will be used to create a real time color portrait of “home” – individual domestic and planetary, over the 2023 – 2024 solar year.

Domestic Light explores the disparity between how natural light is perceived and mediated, and the nature of our networked relations. The project offers a new way of noticing how our bodies build the notion of home and the passage of time– based on the qualities of light where we live– and how mediated images of nature are sensitizing us as a species. Domestic Light fulfills the urgent need to build community-to-community networks, and supports the role of artists in cultivating the observation of one’s own environmental transformations. At the project end, its unique structured data set will be archived at the University of Sussex Humanities Lab and available for public use and interpretation by artists and researchers.

Beginning on the 2023 solstice, Domestic Light’s sensor data will be translated into live video displays on this website, at SFArtsED Gallery at the Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco. In fall 2024, the project will culminate in an immersive installation, a live audio/visual performance by Ian Winters and Pamela Z created from video made from the year data time-lapse along with sound contributed by sensor hosts, events organized by Creative Work Fund commissioning partner Leonardo, and a special section in Leonardo Journal.

Key collaborators include Weidong Yang (sensor and data programming), Pamela Z (composer), Leonardo / ISAST, by residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program and the University of Sussex Humanities Lab and with the support of the Creative Work Fund.