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28 October 2014
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A public stage for your text messages

Section of the Coventry Wall of Light
Section of the Coventry Wall of Light
Find out how marbles, text messages and motion sensors have come together to make a prize-winning public artwork, the Coventry Wall of Light.

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The Coventry Wall of Light artwork is the most popular - and extraordinary - multi-media artwork ever to have been erected in Coventry.

Unexpected materials

 Section of the Coventry Wall of Light
The Coventry Wall of Light
The Wall of Light is a 6 x 1.2 metre LED display panel, mounted on the Lower Precinct Car Park, in Queen Victoria Road.

The front is clad in perforated steel sheets, sandwiching 20,000 glass marbles.

There are a further seven panels that look similar, but that are back-lit with neon. This is triggered by pedestrians, via motion sensors, so as people walk by, the neon lights come on.

An added delight is that the marbles spin when you run your hands across them and few passers-by can resist it!

Public text messages

 Text on the Coventry Wall of Light
Test on the Coventry Wall of Light
From 7pm the wall displays any messages sent by mobile phones.

The invitation "text me on 07817970907" is shown and the public can send anything they like.

The messages scroll across quite quickly and are gone. A selection of the best of the messages are then displayed during the following day, along with contributions and animations from local schools and colleges.

The piece won a competition organised by Coventry City Council and was funded by the Lower Precinct developers.

It was a collaborative effort with local architect Adrian Baynes with animations and LED imagery by designer Graeme Crowley and software by Paul Hudson.

Coventry roots

 Text on the Coventry Wall of Light
The Coventry Wall of Light at night
The design team all have strong ties with Coventry, as Adrian Baynes and Graeme Crowley were born in the city and all three studied at Coventry University or The Lanchester Art College.

Adrian Baynes is best known locally for his design of Browns Café Bar, in Earl Street in Coventry and Sugar nightclub in Leamington.

What do you think?

Do you think it's risky having uncensored text messages shown in public? What would you send? Would you like to see more public artwork in the city?

Send us all your views by using the email link on the top right.

Your responses

S Sharp said:

I don't think it's risky having uncensored text messages shown in public, as it is the public that sends these messages, so if the public
wishes to send abuse, then it the same people that will see it.

An improvement was added to show graffiti found on the pompeii ruins, translated from latin. And beside, these messages are shown after 7pm,
and to be honest with you, children should not be allowed to roam around that area after 7pm. Also, there is not time for people who drive past that area to get a real glimspe of the message anyways.

Adding censorship software would be difficult and expensive to set up
properly considering the number of possible ways of writing obscenities.

As I know adrian, I was able to have a conversation with the wall (or at least Grahame Cowley) who was sitting next to the computer. I also ask
questions to it. I have also seen people use it for advertising, romantic messages as people walk past. adrian once told me howe he saw a homeless person dance in front of the panels.

I would you like to see more public artwork in the city, but iy wolud no doubt be vandalised by the youth of coventry.


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