The Future is Bright

LED replacement has begun!
June 27, 2013

On Tuesday night June 25th, our technical team began its strategic LED replacement that will have The Bay Lights continuing to shine ever brighter over the summer. Hundreds more LEDs are being replaced over last night and tonight, and Leo returns July 1st to reimagine the piece to even greater brilliance and stability in time for The America’s Cup and throughout the busy summer.

When you look at The Bay Lights this summer…

You’ll see Leo’s artistic genius reflected in a gentle, sublime and subtle form. Earlier this month when he was faced with the constraint of malfunctioning lights, Leo did what great artists do: he embraced the challenge and reimagined the work. The Bay Lights may have fewer breathtaking walls of lights moving across it this summer. But it is no less beautiful. I highly recommend looking deeply at the work as it is now.

And in the fall, when the installation is returned to its full technological strength, you’ll see how The Bay Lights evolves when Leo reimagines the work yet again. It’s remarkable—and perhaps noteworthy in the realm of art history—how artist Leo Villareal joined the technical team discussions and continues to play a crucial role in helping keep the installation up and beautiful.

A site-specific, ever evolving artwork

Since The Bay Lights flickered to life that rainy night in March, it has stood as a beacon of community, love and generosity—reflecting back nightly all that we put into it. When the bay’s harsh environment of high winds, fog, rain, salty air and non-stop vibrations caused a malfunction that began to diminish its beauty, the situation was grim.

Given the failure rate of LEDs stuck in the on or off position by mid-May—there was a strong possibility that The Bay Lights would go dark over the summer. It was news that I did not want to deliver to a region that had grown financially, culturally, and some would even say spiritually, connected to the monumental artwork—and it was news I did not want to transmit on international airwaves, knowing so many people worldwide had planned trips expressly to see The Bay Lights.

And then something beautiful happened.

The same heroic team that took on the impossible job of designing and installing The Bay Lights leapt into action again. Through a rigorous trouble-shooting process, they identified the problem—a tiny bit of water was entering some of the LEDs and shorting out some of the strands. The LED’s manufacturer, Philips Color Kinetics, a close partner in the creation of The Bay Lights from the beginning, stepped up and took full responsibility for a complete fix this fall. They went above and beyond the call of duty when they committed to invest heavily in a short-term fix—this great company joined in with the technical team in its commitment to keep The Bay Lights shining over the summer and beyond!

Catch up on the good news

We have much gratitude for the amazing press coverage The Bay Lights received on Friday June 14th and in the ensuing days. Cornell Barnard had the story for ABC-TV 7 and Joe Rosato Jr. wrote online piece for NBC Bay Area, You can find more to read and watch on Press page.