IUPUI lecturer creating a boogie wonderland outside the NCAA Final Four

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

IUPUI lecturer C. Thomas Lewis was hard at work April 2, turning the street under a railroad overpass near the site of this weekend’s NCAA Men’s Final Four into an immersive disco environment.

When he and student volunteers assisting him were done, 351 disco balls were suspended from the 360-foot overpass, representing the number of Division I colleges. Theatrical lights bounced off the mirrored surfaces, creating points of light sparkling overhead. A fog machine and a DJ playing disco tunes during peak pedestrian times over the weekend will complete the atmosphere.

“Should be a fabulous party,” said Lewis, a media arts and science lecturer in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “So I hope people come down.”

The overpass is on South Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis, running between Lucas Oil Stadium, where the basketball games will be played, and Georgia Street. About 70,000 visitors are expected in that area.

Lewis came up with the idea for the disco balls after being approached by the city’s Cultural Infusion Committee. That committee was seeking ideas on behalf of the NCAA, which wanted something done to make the overpass space attractive.

Lewis said normally he would have wanted to imagine and propose a video-mapping installation, but a high-tech solution was out of the question because of the environment, time, money and projection logistics.

With the installation of the low-tech disco balls, Lewis said two things were important to him: that it was kinetic and that it was immersive.

“Staying Alive,” anyone?

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