WAVE honors the rich history of those piers that helped transform the City of New York into the thriving metropolis and desired destination it is today by utilizing the cutting-edge technology and innovation that fosters its current growth. Harnessing the wake of traveling vessels up and down the waterway, WAVE reconstructs Pier 56 with brilliantly expansive vertically projected beams of light; their dynamic patterns evoking a sense of history, beauty and wonder. As ships of the Hudson River’s historic past engaged and activated the piers along Manhattan’s West Side, these maritime monoliths of wood and steel became an integral driving force in the city’s economy. WAVE invites the public into a moment of history and simultaneously, into a skyward sense of the future.
Utilizing Pier 56’s remaining pile field, ultrasonic sensor-controlled, energy-efficient LED fixtures are evenly leveled and mounted to these structures in a 5×25 grid. As its title suggests, WAVE’s primary method of activation is wave generated. As the wake from passing vessels travels through the pier’s underlying structure, the sensors are triggered and the light is activated. Secondarily, if waves are not at a level high enough to activate the sensors then WAVE is activated by the public via a touch-based kiosk located at a vantage point where the piece can clearly be seen and appreciated. Lastly, when both the wave and public generated methods are inactive, WAVE’s tertiary activation method is artist generated, using an open source programming language to display complex and dynamic patterns of light.