The River


The River is a project that was created for the iLight@Marina Bay Festival, 2012. It was a collaborative effort, involving Andreas Schlegel, Adam Aw, Benjamin Low, Jacky Boen, Mui Rui Yi, Zac Ong and myself, Mithru Vigneshwara.

The River is a light sculpture comprising an array of laser cut acrylic sheet illuminated by 72 LEDs. The LEDs are animated based on analysis of sound samples recorded along the Singapore River.


The River is created in celebration of Asia’s only sustainable light festival and also in accordance with the theme of “Light Meets Asia”. Focusing on the idea of “Light as Life”, the concept of the artwork is based on the conclusion derived from weeks of discussion, that the Singapore River is a really appropriate representation of Singapore as a growing nation through how the Singapore River has similarly transformed over the years.


Sound samples were collected from along the Singapore river. These sounds included rush hour mornings near bridges, tourists walking along the river, the club scene at Clarke Quay, the calmness of early evening Boat Quay and the bars along the river. The sound samples were then analyzed and parsed using custom software into an SD card.

An Arduino Board, attached to five 16-bit LED drivers, is used to read the data from the SD card and control the intensity of the LEDs. 72 LEDs were used, split into a 3 x 24 matrix. 24 Acrylic sheets sit on these LEDs and are illuminated by them. Each LED has a custom built wooden casing that also supports the acrylic sheets. Approximately 300 meters of wires have been used to connect the 72 LEDs to the circuit. In total, the installation requires 8 Watts to be powered.


The acrylic sheets were designed to resemble a river. The path of the Singapore river was used to design the height and position of each curve in the overall structure. The LEDs are animated to simulate the flowing river.


Exhibits and Features

Paper submitted and accepted by the ACM, published in Proceeding: SA ’12 SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Art Gallery

Presented at Siggraph Asia, 2012 at the Singapore Expo

Presented as part of iLight@Marina Bay, Singapore in 2012