the creative work of Paul Marquardt

commission

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prime field

Kalamazoo Gazette - Yvonne Zipp

MyWMU - Stan Sulewski

Coda Magazine - February/March 2015

Western Michigan Umiversity

The concept for Prime Field has its roots in “priming” research. Priming is an implicit memory effect in which exposure to a stimulus influences a response to a later stimulus. Extensive research has shown that exposure to a series of words has a significant effect on subsequent performance. Words in the artwork were chosen specifically to “prime” students for learning.

Commissioned by Western Michigan University for the new Sangren Hall, Prime Field is an interactive artwork consisting of a particle field of words suspended in space that light up in response to the movement of people passing below.

Sensors are strategically placed to detect motion in specific areas of the lobby. A microcontroller is programmed to light the words in a unique sequence for each motion sensor. Consistent with the efficiency of the building, the word modules are lit with LEDs and are programmed to completely shut off after a period of inactivity.