Let's Talk About Art: An immersive artwork

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

If you take a walk through the galleries at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside, you'll notice a lot of sculptural and installation art. But only one asks you to step into the artwork.

For "Plume," the viewer must enter a futuristic plastic dome in an otherwise darkened room to experience it. It is the work of multimedia artist Ian Brill. He is one of six artists with solo shows in the upstairs galleries at PCA, on view through April 20.

'Plume' on display at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

"Plume" is an immersive, interactive dome of synchronized light and sound gestures. It's on exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts through April 20. (3/18/2014)

Once inside "Plume," visitors notice patterns of light and sound that fill the senses. But then the experience changes. Sometimes the colors are bright and pulsating, sometimes they are pale and still. The next minute they begin to swirl.

"Plume" is programmed by computer to cycle through synchronized patterns, Mr. Brill explains, and it also has a few strategically placed sensors throughout the building that can make the patterns change.

Mr. Brill, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, enjoys collaborative projects such as this one, pulling in his friends and family. For "Plume," he says his father's knowledge of electrical circuitry was crucial.

"He's an unusual and remarkable person, and part of my shift toward working with technology stems from trying to connect with him more."

Although the structure is a modular design and can be packed flat, installing a piece of artwork the size of "Plume" within the gallery space was a challenge.

"Having sprinklers go off on my equipment certainly put me in a panic for a bit," he said.

Also a musician, Mr. Brill divides his time among developing algorithmic audio compositions, illustration, painting, sculpture, performance art and teaching. He has performed at The Andy Warhol Museum, The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh's Center for the Arts and Penn State University.

For more about Ian Brill's art: http://ianbrill.drupalgardens.com.

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