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All-Nite Tetherball at DLECTRICITY

A lamppost covered in rainbow stripes of LED lights, with a tetherball attached to the top.

Stamps pro­fes­sors Roland Graf, Nick Tobier, and Michael Rode­mer teamed up with Cameron Kabacin­ski (Col­lege of Engi­neer­ing, Class of 2021) to trans­form three munic­i­pal light poles on Kirby Street out­side the Detroit Insti­tute of Arts into an inter­ac­tive play­thing – and with it the sur­round­ing urban space from util­ity to play. Wrapped in col­or­ful LED strips sim­i­lar to the art of urban knit­ting, the light effects dis­played on the poles can be set in motion by inter­act­ing with an illu­mi­nated ball attached to it.

The project will pre­mière as part of DLEC­TRIC­ITY, a major light-based art + tech­nol­ogy fes­ti­val in Detroit, on Fri­day, Sep 24, 2021 (7:00 p.m. – Mid­night) and Sat­ur­day, Sep 25, 2021 (7:00 p.m. – Mid­night). Set up on munic­i­pal light poles, this instal­la­tion cre­ates an urban icon with ref­er­ences to both the neigh­bor­hood bar­ber pole — an illu­mi­nated, spin­ning col­umn of stripes that calls out to pedes­tri­ans — and street games. It offers a bril­liant, inter­ac­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of a favorite play­ground sta­ple, a teth­erball pole.