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Credit Jim Bennett

Ginny Ruffner: Project Aurora


On Now


This installation runs on a fixed schedule from Tuesday through Sunday, from noon until 10:00 pm. It is included in a paid General Admission ticket.

Explore the Project Aurora audio guide →

Project Aurora is a bright wall of light, 20 feet high and 10 feet wide, made up of 34,560 individual LED lights. Shimmering sheets of colored light, drawn from images of the Aurora Borealis, are programmed to undulate across the wall of light. Microprocessors update the installation 20 times per second, creating a peak brightness of 350,000 lumens; the light equivalent of 225 traditional 100-watt bulbs. Aided by artificial intelligence, the piece captures the unpredictability of the natural phenomenon. Artist Ginny Ruffner worked in collaboration with Ed Fries, a prominent video game programmer and entrepreneur, and Wanda Gregory, a University of Washington lecturer and former video game professional, to evoke an experience of ephemeral beauty for viewers of the artwork.

Ginny Ruffner
About the artist:

Born in Atlanta, Ginny Ruffner (b. 1952) is a multimedia artist who lives and works in Seattle. She trained at the University of Georgia as a painter, graduating with honors and an MFA. She is best known for her sculptural work in glass, which is held in more than 50 museum and public collections around the world. Her career has spanned 90 solo and several hundred group exhibitions. Her recent work includes augmented reality (AR) projects, such as Reforestation of the Imagination, which was exhibited at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. The exhibition is currently traveling museums across the United States. She has authored two books and been featured in an award-winning documentary titled A Not So Still Life, the Ginny Ruffner Story (2010). In 2016, Ruffner founded the non-profit SOLA to recognize the work of female artists.

Installation images credit of Jim Bennet/Photo Bakery for National Nordic Museum.