Kicked my Olympic activities off with a couple of overpriced ($9 a can) beers at the "Irish House" opening last night. Ran into some friends like Cole and Jakob from Nordica Photography, met some lovely new people and just soaked in the Olympic buzz that has descended on this fair city like vultures on a zebra carcass (weird simile, but it'll do!).

For some images of some of the visitors to Irish House for the opening last night, check out this post by the fellas from Nordica.

From there it was off to the mouth of False Creek to photograph "Vectorial Elevation" – one of the most visible art installations present in Vancouver as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. The piece is hard to miss from pretty much anywhere in town once the sun goes down. We’re talking 20 huge searchlights shooting straight into the air (Batman call style) forming various patterns which we, the public can control via an online wizard.

As described on the official website:

Vectorial Elevation is an interactive artwork that allows participants to transform the sky over Vancouver, Canada. Using a three-dimensional interface, this web site lets you design huge light sculptures by directing 20 robotic searchlights located around English Bay. A web page is made for each participant with photos of their design from four cameras located around the city.

I spent a few hours out wandering around Granville Island, Vanier Park, Burrard Street Bridge and the Granville Street Bridge (all good vantage points) taking a few shots as I went. You can view the results below.

Creating your own Vectorial Elevation design

The process of designing your own light sculpture is pretty cool, so here's a quick run-through of exactly what you need to do. And remember, it doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can participate in this!

1. Go to the website

Simply point your browser at the official Vectorial Elevation website: Next, click on the "Participate" menu item at the top of the page.

2. Build your sculpture

Once you get to the "Participate" page, you can start playing around with position of the 20 light beams by checking and unchecking each light's selection box and dragging the beams position around the map provided. After a bit of tinkering, you will come up with something like this:

To get a good idea of how your creation will look from various vantage points all around Vancouver, use the "Vantage Point" drop down box at the bottom right of screen. You'll be able to view a bunch of different views, thanks to a little Google Earth 3D magic, including the following:

3. Provide a few details and dedicate your design

Once you're all done, hit the "Submit Design" button at the bottom right of the page and you'll be taken to a screen where you will be prompted for a couple of your details that which are required in order to build your own personalised design page and also so that you can be notified when your design is set to soar into the skies over Vancouver.

Also on this screen, you have the option of dedicating your design to someone special in your life. Hello... what a great Valentine's Day gift idea!!!

I submitted a design this morning and dedicated it to my niece back home in Brisbane, Australia. In doing so, little Cara will get an email letting her know that there's a design being dedicated to her. Since she is overseas, she can tune into any of the four webcams made available on the site for viewing online. Super cool!

4. Submit your design

Last step is to submit your design. with a push of a button your design is sent off to Vancouver and you are presented with a screen that tells you approximately how long it will be until your design goes LIVE, and also gives you the URL for your very own design page where your sculpture will be documented.

So there you have it. Dead easy and really, really cool.

For more information on the Vectorial Elevation project including its history (this is not the first city to have featured the display), the technology involved, environmental impact and much more, visit the official Vectorial Elevation website at:

Links & Credits

  • All images // Rob Masefield
  • Nordica Photography //
  • Vectorial Elevation //