Chromata for PDXWLF


Chromata is an 8 ft x 4 ft light-emitting panel that has been described by some viewers as “an abstract painting that continuously repaints itself.” Chromata was debuted at PDXWLF 2019 with tablet-based interaction. That interactivity proved very popular and so is replaced this year with a new interaction kiosk that allows participants to interact with Chromata using a simple big-button interface to change the symmetry and colors of Chromata’s animation.

Chromata with artist.

Chromata is a time-variant artwork and thus requires video to be fully appreciated. The video below demonstrates Chromata and its interactivity.

The above video is also available here:
Chromata prototype video

This proposal will describe in detail the following aspects of the work:

Dimensions and weight

The main part of the Chromata installation consists of a panel and a stand. When mounted on the stand, the overall height is 84 inches (from floor to the top of the panel) the width is 96 inches from side to side, and the base is 48 inches deep.

Chromata installation at an outdoor venue.

The interaction kiosk is mounted about 10 to 12 ft away form the panel, off-axis for eaiser viewing by non-interacting participants. The interaction kiosk can be run from batteries or A/C power if available.

The entire installation weighs around 200 lbs.


Chromata is viewer-interactive employing a custom a custom-made interaction kiosk with a simple big-button interaction model.

Interaction panel dark
Chromata’s interaction panel.

Chromata is designed to operate autonomously if there is no interaction.

Chromata interaction panel details
Chromata interaction panel details.

Button functions

The Paging buttons page through approximately 1,000 color gradients that can be used to affect the colors on the Chromata panel. Each Page up or Page down button press replaces the five gradients shown with the previous or next page of color gradients.

The white color selection buttons apply the corresponding color gradient to the Chromata panel. This colors change instantly.

The four Symmetry buttons at the top allow the viewer to control the symmetry of the Chromata panel. None shows no symmetry. The up-down and left-right buttons apply symmetry across a single axis. The up-down-left-right button applies symmetry to both axes simulataneously.


Other considerations

Power requirements

Chromata requires 120V AC power via a standard three-prong USA outlet. It is projected to draw less than 2A at 120VAC, which is 240W. The interaction kiosk can run from batteries or AC power and its power draw is minuscule.

Duty cycle

Chromata‘s software is mature and robust, and runs reliably for weeks without maintenance of any kind. However, Chromata is best viewed at night, so the piece will be powered off by the artist at the end of each exhibition day, and that the piece will remain in place (but off) during daylight hours. Because the piece, when uncovered, looks very much like a giant whiteboard, the artist has a custom-made tarp that goes over the main panel that is printed with what the piece looks like when it is lit up. A similar small tarp protects the interaction panel during off hours.


Chromata is designed to be installed and left in place, with only basic uncovering/power-on and power-off/covering-up activities required. As such all of Chromata’s removable parts are locked with small padlocks for security.


While Chromata generates quite a bit of light, it is meant to be viewed in a dark or dimly-lit space. The piece itself will constantly light its space so no further area lighting is necessary, and should be minimized if possible within approximately 15 feet of the piece.


Chromata is a relatively slow-moving, contemplative piece that very much rewards lengthy immersion by viewers. It would be optimal if the venue could provide a bench for use by exhibition patrons.