I took a trip to Paso Robles, CA to see an amazing lighting installation called Sensorio. It was a mesmerizing experience. This vast art piece was created by Bruce Munro. He took five acres of rolling fields and installed over 58,800 stemmed spheres which are lit by fiber optics. We were invited to come and experience the space for an hour before nightfall.
It was quite impressive to see these vast fields of what look like dandelion "puff balls," spreading for what seemed like miles and miles. Then, as the sky grew darker and the sun dropped below the hills, the space really began to come alive. Walking through the meandering pathways you could see these glowing flower-like orbs in all directions. Gently, they changed colors over time, painting the dark hills with illumination. It was absolutely breathtaking.
And even though there were other people, you could only see their silhouettes floating through the fields. People spoke in hushed tones, if at all. No flash photography was allowed, so there was nothing to interrupt the ethereal feel. There were no city lights competing with the installation, so you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps on another planet.
I kind of considered fiber optics as old technology, once light emitting diodes (LEDs) had come onto the market. Once I saw the beauty of it, I can see why the use of fiber optics was the way to go. The color transitions seemed more fluid and the intensity of light much more subtle than LEDs.
Impressively, the whole installation is solar powered. None of the solar collectors were visible, so my guess is that they are located on the other side of a distant hill to hide them from view. During the day, you could see the locations of the illuminators. They were housed in black boxes so that you couldn’t see the originating light source. It also felt that the colors were more subtle than we see in LEDs.
Note: After sunset, it got chilly really fast. I did not dress as warmly as I should have and bought a cup of coffee to hold onto while I strolled through the property, just to stay warm. If you go in the next two months I would recommend a well insulated jacket, a hat, gloves and a scarf. The show closes June 30, 2020. If you do get a chance to go and see it, I would really recommend it. They also have food, drinks and live music so that you can make a night of it. Take a look at their app Sensorio Paso or their website.