Dezeen Magazine

Current light sculpture on the Hudson responds to movements of passersby 

Artist Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong has designed an interactive installation on the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York state with LED animations that respond to people passing by.

Called Current, the permanent sculpture is located on the Westchester County side of Tappan Zee Bridge spanning the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Nyack.

It is located on the Westchester County side of Tappan Zee Bridge
Current is located on a bridge in New York state

Current is composed of 12 triangular steel arches positioned on a poured concrete foundation. The arches are lined up alongside each other and gradually decrease in height.

Each arch is fitted with an iridescent glass fin on its apex that refracts sunlight and creates shadows during the day, while integrated LED lights produce a white glow after dark.

Current is defined by its changing lights
The installation emits sensor-based white light at night

"The name was chosen in reference to the ebb and flow of river currents on the Hudson River, as well as currents of light and currents of time," artist Wing-Zi Wong told Dezeen.

The installation features motion sensors that detect movement from passersby, which triggers LED light animations that respond to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.

"In the evening, Current creates a shared spatial experience through the light animations that respond to movements of passersby," explained Wing-Zi Wong.

Similar to a clock's chime, the sculpture also plays a different light animation at the start of each hour of the day.

"The work is a dynamic and interactive sculpture that celebrates transformation," said the artist.

Glass fins refract colourful light during the day
Glass fins sit atop the triangular structure

Officially named the Governor Mario M Cuomo Bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge replaced a former version of itself in 2017.

Current's foundation, cladding and the mullions securing the glass fins in place are all made of steel reclaimed from the old bridge.

Current was designed by artist Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong
The installation is designed to be interactive

Wing-Zi Wong's process involved studying the site and history of the Hudson River and the old Tappan Zee Bridge, after which she developed the installation using 3D-drawing software Rhino.

"Current pays homage to this connection and to the legacy of the Tappan Zee Bridge as the historic primary connection point spanning the Hudson between the two counties north of New York City," said Wing-Zi Wong.

The installation is in New York state
Current engages with the history of its location

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong is a New York-based artist whose work explores the boundary between art and architecture.

Recent installation designs include a mirrored kaleidoscope catwalk created by artist Doug Aitken for last week's Saint Laurent menswear fashion show in Venice, and a sculpture at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed that can be transformed into a race track using an augmented reality app.

The images are courtesy of Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong.

Project credits: 

Lighting design and programming: ARUP: Xena Petkanas, Christoph Gisel
Commissioned by:
New York State Thruway Authority, ArtsWestchester
Fabrication: Elemental Metalworks
Installation: Sultz, NYSTA

More images and plans

A 3D model of the installation
A 3D model of the installation
Current by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong
Current by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong
Current by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong
Current by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong