CNM Ingenuity Internet of Things Students Create Tech-Inspired Artwork For Rail Trail Project
Spectators looking at Internet of Things student KD Neely's park bench

CNM Ingenuity Internet of Things Students Create Tech-Inspired Artwork For Rail Trail Project

The four artists attended the 10-week IoT bootcamp and came out with creative pieces that combine technology and art
July 05, 2023

As part of the City of Albuquerque’s Rail Trail Project , Department of Public Arts, and Department of Technology and Innovation four local artists were chosen to take CNM Ingenuity’s Internet of Things (IoT) bootcamp to learn how to intentionally incorporate technology into their art. After the bootcamp, the artists were asked to create tech-infused public art installations that could potentially be installed along the Rail Trail. Their prototypes, which ranged from park benches to modular light installations, were recently showcased at The Residency Party hosted by the city.

Below are photos and more information about each artist and their piece.

KD Neely: “The New Mexico Park Bench”
KD Neely took the Woman sitting on benchchallenge of creating functional and beautiful public art and turned it into a solar powered park bench. Along with the lights installed in the bench seat, she also installed wireless device charging pads on the side of the bench. This functionality would expand access to power, which is becoming increasingly necessary and important in our technology-based world. As for her experience in IoT, KD could not be more grateful for the impact the bootcamp had on her and her art. “This bootcamp changed my entire life and the course of my work completely,” she says. “I no longer feel limited in the ways I did before, and I feel like it’s possible to do anything, make anything, and create anything.” Find out more about the making of KD’s park bench. 

Owen Schwab: “Group Theremin”
Inspired by the theremin instrument, Owen Schwab Man interacting with large art piece
used what he learned in the IoT bootcamp to build a large audio visual installation that uses ultrasonic sensors to generate synth-like audio and LED animations. The sound and LED display change as users move closer or further from the display, and ultimately allows people to interact with the invisible frequencies that are in the environment. His vision for this piece is to give people a fun, communal way to interact with each other and these frequencies while on the Rail Trail. For Owen, the IoT bootcamp completed his artistic toolkit, and he knows what he’s learned will take his art to the next level. “This is always what I’ve wanted my art to be, and what I learned in the bootcamp were my pain points as an artist before,” he explains. “Now I feel like I have a complete set of skills and I’m ready to do more.” Learn more about how Owen’s project works. 

Projection screen with abstract image

Adrian Pijoan: “Tree Chat”
Adrian Pijon is an artist who examines contemporary folklore through the lens of the paranormal or unexplained (UFOs, Bigfoot, etc.) For his project, Adrian created Tree Chat to communicate with plants along the trail. Each plant in the Tree Chat network collects data about itself, receives data from the other plants, and creates a data visualization. Adrian feels particularly grateful for receiving the UETF grant and being able to explore his passions of technology and art. Find out more about Adrian’s “Tree Chat”

James Black: Illuminated Art Installation
James Black is a seasoned artist who loves public art so Man with art installation he was immediately drawn to this project. His illuminated art installation not only showcases his art, but also gives a platform to other artists and helps keep patrons on the Rail Trail safe. As people walk, run, or play music as they pass the installation, the lights will turn on to display various visual art works.The lights will also turn on as the train approaches, which will help provide an added level of safety to the Rail Trail. Even though this is not James’ first experience creating public art, going through the IoT bootcamp pushed his creative boundaries. “I’m a 2D artist, but for this project I had to create something that was 3D and could stand on its own,” he says. “My instructors, Brian Rashap and EJ Ishman changed my life for the better and I have a whole new understanding of how the world works.” Learn more about James’ piece.