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Interactive ArtPrize sculpture EIRO now live in Grand Rapids

EIRO uses sound, light and projection to interact with viewers, both in-person and through a website.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — ArtPrize celebrated its opening day Thursday, bringing hundreds of art pieces to downtown Grand Rapids. Some pieces are interactive, including EIRO—a sound sculpture that highlights a game and interactive live stream.

EIRO is a towering sculpture with speakers stacked below a huge eye-shaped beacon. A projection on the beacon shows video of an eye. The project's website says EIRO aims to be a sculpture that looks back at its viewers—and could connect people digitally.

EIRO uses light, performance and projection to connect with viewers. Three buttons have been placed near the sculpture—one yellow, one pink and one blue. As viewers press buttons, colors change on the sculpture, which churns out music.

But people don't even have to be in Grand Rapids to participate in the project. A website features a live feed of EIRO with multiple camera angles and the three buttons. Text on the website says EIRO "evolves based on collective input", and participants are asked to press buttons on the website to interact with EIRO virtually. 

Noah Kaplan, the Chief Imagination Officer for the project, says the buttons, colors and music are a game—if you're confused by the concept, that's kind of the point.

"The game entails releasing layers of songs on layers of songs, but you'll have to figure it out by playing," said Kaplan. "And one of the rules of EIRO is you don't really know the rules. Let the rules play you, let EIRO play you. And what we say with EIRO, our mission is see through it, and through it, see."  

Three songs were written specifically for EIRO, Kaplan said, which are then played as viewers interact with the sculpture.

Kaplan said the idea for EIRO came to him in a dream where he saw an obelisk with a beacon on top. It's a project years in the making.

"So EIRO really became a really big art collective to deliver like, we want to be a new experience for art, music, sound, culture," Kaplan said. "So you are going to be able to communicate with EIRO from anywhere in the world, using just your telephone."

For more information on EIRO, click here. The evolution and building of EIRO can be found on the project's Instagram.

Later this month, a virtual reality version of EIRO will be launched, along with a communication panel web app with live updates from the sculpture. 

"Everybody out there, follow your damn dreams. They might not make sense, but not everything should make sense," Kaplan said.

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