Community Lightboxes




Introduction: Community Lightboxes

These lightboxes were created for a community "pop-up" in Holyoke, MA. We installed them during the day and as night fell, people wrote their thoughts and dreams for their city on the translucent faces of the boxes, then turned on the light inside.

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Step 1: Simple Plywood Frames

We made boxes using 1/2" plywood, finish nails (with a pneumatic nailer), and wood glue. Prior to nailing/gluing them together, we ran the plywood through the table saw, to create a 1/8" by 1/8" dado. This would later hold the translucent "scribe plate". On the back of each box, we attached a top cleat and a bottom stand off, in order to hang the (100+) boxes on rails during installation. We painted the back of each box a bright color, so that they would look cool before the scribe plates were inserted by community members over the course of the evening.

Step 2: Install the Lighting

We cut two 1" wire holes in the back of each box, so that wires could come in and out. We purchased simple florescent under-cabinet lights, which could be ganged together. Each had its own switch, so that community members could switch on each box as they dropped in their thought/hope/dream.

Step 3: Community Input

As people came to the block party, they saw the light boxes, with the introductory phrase "my Holyoke is.../mi Holyoke es/esta..." We handed out translucent scribe plates and dry-erase markers. As dusk fell, the boxes were switched on one by one.

Step 4: Have a Party!

These light boxes are a simple and beautiful way to get people thinking and talking about an event or cause. After the pop-up was over, we gave the lightboxes away to people at the event. Some reported pasting images to the front, creating a backlit display for their favorite photographs. Others wrote new phrases and used them as nightlights.

Collaborators: Soroush Farzinmoghadam, Solen Fluzin, Garth Schwellenbach, Hang Zhou

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