It’s known on campus as “the sponge.” But on three nights in April, the porous façade of Simmons Hall will be transformed into a scintillating digital canvas with 116 x 31. This large-scale interactive installation, created by undergraduate design major Karyn Nakamura, will light up one of MIT’s most iconic residence halls.
Titled 116 x 31 after the number of horizontal and vertical squares that compose Simmons Hall’s metal frame, Nakamura’s three-night installation uses three projectors set up in Briggs Field to animate the Simmons façade. Illuminated, each of the metal squares becomes a pixel, composing shifting digital images that flit across the building’s surface. The 116 x 31 unit grid serves as the canvas for a live audio-reactive projection installation. Using video and audio mathematically manipulated to reflect the structure of Simmons, the projection is animated live as audience members speak into a microphone.
“This is a great technical accomplishment,” says Joshua Higgason, a Technical Instructor in MIT Music and Theater Arts who advised Nakamura on the project. “But it’s far more than that. What Karyn is doing here is also exceptional art.”
The project is supported by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT with additional support from Music and Theater Arts and the Arts at MIT.
116 x 31 Schedule
Friday, April 8, 2022 / 8–11pm
Saturday April 9, 2022 / 8–11pm
Sunday, April 10, 2022 / 8–11pm
Briggs Field, 250 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
Free and open to the public.