SHA_RE Light art grid

  • Peter Musschenga

Visualizing the university Presenting science in public space For the 400th anniversary of the University of Groningen, the Groningen University Fund commissioned me to design a permanent light artwork for the stairwell of the University Library in the center of town. SHA_RE is a dynamic grid of images that is constantly changing both shape and form. Not only the stairwell, but also the square in front transform as a result. In this place, where students and teachers from all disciplines come together, in the heart of the city, the artwork shows photos, videos and texts that scientific research at the university uses and generates. In a dynamic grid that flows over a 20+ sq. metres waterfall of LED panels, thousands of photos, videos of research and texts of dissertations are displayed in a constantly changing form. The movement is not linear. Sometimes one of the cells is enlarged and the image reaches from the bottom to the top of the stairwell. In addition, the cells occasionally fill with color, whereby the image grid shows similarities with a stained-glass window, a reference to the Saint Martin's Church that stood at this location until 1982. And it's a reflection of the stained glass windows of the Academy Building on the other side of the square. Periodically, different cells of the grid become transparent, with a glimpse into the veins of the library through a scrolling log file that shows how the catalog is searched, the start of much research. The name SHA_RE indicates the way in which the artwork was created and what it does: sharing your own research with the artwork and the artist and sharing your research with colleagues and the public. The underscore cuts the word in half. It gives an idea of the technology behind it where 'RE' stands for 'research'.