Boston Art Commission


Artist: Sophia Brueckner and Catherine D'Ignazio

Neighborhood: Greenway



United States
42° 21' 34.74" N, 71° 3' 6.0876" W


Time Frame: Monday, July 8, 2013 - Saturday, August 1, 2015


Phases is a new generative art installation by Sophia Brueckner and Catherine D'Ignazio, created for the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion located in Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Pavilion is the Welcome Center for the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. Starting Monday, July 8th and running only after sunset, the animation renders moonlight sparkling on ocean waves receding into the nighttime darkness. It is purposefully reminiscent of the condensed landscapes in early computer games where the complexity of nature is distilled into such a small number of pixels, analogous to modern difficulties in reducing complex real-world environments and situations into simple metrics computers can understand.

The animation is alive, and the computer program pulls information in real-time regarding the conditions of the Boston Harbor Islands to influence the constantly evolving animation. The tides affect the shape and speed of the overlapping and receding patterns. The middle column of light changes with the phases of the moon. Weather conditions affect the beams of light moving across the scene, and, on clear nights, flickering pixels emulate the glitter of light on water. While bringing awareness to the challenge of capturing real-world complexities using limited representations within the computer, Phases uses technology to link two places together in real-time, bringing a little bit of the Boston Harbor Islands to the city.

Programming for the low-resolution LED screens at the Pavilion is sponsored by the National Park Service and Boston Harbor Island Alliance. The programming content, curated by Boston Cyberarts, is designed to enliven a focal point of the Greenway after dark with themes that connect the viewer to the islands-based park 15 minutes from downtown Boston.

Text and photo provided by Boston Cyberarts. More information is available at

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