Open Highway
A real time light installation visualizing highway vehicles in scale 1:1

Recently, the Leidsche Rijn tunnel over the A2 highway in Utrecht was installed, a crucial part of the urban development master plan for Leidsche Rijn by Maxwan from 1994. When the neighbourhood is finished in 2030, there will be about 110.000 people living in this gigantic city addition. 

RAUM is the organization that is responsible for the art and design program on the 65.000 sqm Berlijnplein, that is situated on top of the tunnel. The Berlijnplein and the district of Hoge Weide exists largely by the grace of the tunnel over the A2, as the tunnel ensures that the district is a single entity, free from nuisance of speeding cars on the motorway, and connects the area seamlessly to the rest of the city.

The light installation OPEN HIGHWAY makes the hidden highway visible again and shows that you can make something beautiful out of something intrusive (many cars, noise, exhaust fumes, etc.), a work that translates the traffic flows into a powerful image. It is the first layer in the new history of this neighbourhood.

The installation itself consists of 14 eleven meter long light bars whose shape and placement corresponds exactly to that of the two-times three lanes of the A2 that is below the work. Seven bars face towards Den Bosch (front white light, back red light) en seven bars are faced towards Amsterdam. 

Video production: Collector.

In the nearby RAUM pavilion hangs a large screen that visualizes the real-time traffic data with detailed speeds and capacity of the highway and functions as an explanation for the project.

We use a single Intel NUC, 4G Mobile Hotspot, DMX controllers, linear actuators and 270 meter of water resistant led strips. Every 60 seconds we download and parse the latest state of traffic behaviour relevant to the location. The public available data we download is provided by the Nation Database of Road Traffic(NDW). The received speed and capacity values per lane will then be brought together in a 1 to 1 simulation model programmed in OPENRNDR. Followed by a direct signal over DMX to control the LED lights and actuators.

The work is life-size (scale 1: 1) and spectators can walk through the lights and explore the space freely. A sound component reinforces the desired effect, in the form of a linear actuator that taps the metal of the beam. Sound that moves through space works very powerful and arouses the suggestion that vehicles drive through space. In each light segment a linear actuator is installed, which simultaneously gives a physical "tap" to the metal of the H-beam. As a result, the sound moves in space, parallel to the light. The sound is reminiscent of vehicles that ride over ripples on the road.

Slitscan of recordings of the A2 highway near the Leidsche Rijntunnel, made during fieldwork trips
The NDW traffic data of the real-time traffic in the Leidsche Rijn tunnel made visible.
Data: NDW
Visualization of average speeds and capacity in the tunnel, coloured according to direction.
Data: NDW
Date
2019
Location
Utrecht
Commisioned by
Installation on location
Van Wijk, Nieuwegein
Video by
Installation photography by
Software
OPENRNDR
Open source framework for creative coding
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Studio

RNDR is a design studio for interactive media that develops ‘tools’ that are only finished by how they are used.

To achieve this, we develop processes, create structures, design visualisations, code programs, and create interactions. The end result can manifest itself across different media, ranging from interactive installations, data visualisations, generative identities, prints and everything in between – often real-time. We are triggered by how information and technology transforms networks, cultures, societies, relationships, behaviours, and interactions between people.

RNDR was founded in 2017 in The Hague, (NL). Its main members have years of experience as partners, computer scientists, designers, and developers at LUST and LUSTlab.

One of our core projects, and basis for most of our projects, is OPENRNDR, an open source framework for creative coding –written in Kotlin for the JVM– with over seven years of development, that simplifies writing real-time audio-visual interactive software. OPENRNDR is fundamental for the work and software capacity of RNDR as a studio, as it allows us to realize complex interactive works.

People
Jeroen Barendse (NL), partner. Design and art direction. Former partner of LUST and LUSTlab. Awarded BNO Piet Zwart Oeuvre Prize 2017
Edwin Jakobs (NL), partner. Computer scientist, creative coder and visual artist. Creator of OPENRNDR
Boyd Rotgans (NL), partner. Creative coder & interaction designer
Viola Bernacchi (IT). Design & data visualisation
Els van Dijk (NL), Office manager
Previously at RNDR
Gábor Kerekes (HU), Developer, 2017-2019
Amir Houieh (IR), Developer, 2017-2018
Łukasz Gula (PL), Intern, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, 2018
Noemi Biro (RO), Intern, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, 2018
Selection of exhibitions
Open Highway, Raum, Utrecht, 2018
Typojanchi Typography Biennale Seoul, main exhibitor (as LUST), 2017
Cartographies of Rest, interactive installation at Mile End Art Pavilion in London (as LUST), 2016
Hyperlocator, What’s next, Future Tomorrow, 38CC Delft (as LUST), 2016
Type/Dynamics exhibition, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (as LUST), 2014
Selection of lectures
MiXit conference, Lyon, 2019
Google Span conference, presentation and demo, Helsinki, 2018
JFuture conference, Minsk, 2018
Creative Coding Utrecht, Launch of OPENRNDR, 2018
Selection of workshops
Workshop OPENRNDR at Artez Interaction Design, Arnhem, 2019
Processing Community Day 2019, CCU and Sensorlab, Utrecht, 2019
Royal Academy of Art (KABK), Techweek, The Hague, 2019
Utrecht School for the Arts (HKU), OPENRNDR workshop, 2018
La Scuola Open Source, 1-week workshop, Bari, Italy, 2018

Contact

RNDR

Paviljoensgracht 20
2512 BP, The Hague
+31 (0)70.3635776

info@rndr.studio

interns@rndr.studio

OPENRNDR
Open source framework for creative coding that simplifies writing real-time interactive software

info@openrndr.org
openrndr.org