Our goal was to use lights to create a playful, interactive, and visually impactful environment. We tried prototyping a bunch of different ideas - grids of LEDs, projections on tarps suspended from the ceiling, and arduino-controlled strips of lights.
Eventually we decided to build a series of tiny lanterns - small points of light in a large dark space.
Then the lanterns became bigger. Then we added some sensors.
And then our lights came to life.
We named our first lantern Mark - short for "Mark I". Mark was surprisingly human-like. Its only ability to interact with people came through its two "senses" - sight and sound. Mark could change color depending on your proximity, it could react to noises and music, but that was all. When we stripped it of all other defining "human" characteristics - eyes, a face, a human voice - Mark was clearly more machine than organism.
But was Mark alive?