Dumbo Reflector

The interactive DUMBO Reflector, commissioned by the DUMBO Improvement District in honor of its tenth anniversary, is both a technologically advanced welcome sign, and a celebration of the artistic culture and tech-forward legacy of DUMBO. The creation is a team effort by DUMBO-based multimedia artist David Crumley, utilizing the iconic neighborhood logo spelling out “DUMBO” by smartassdesign.

The DUMBO Reflector shows the spirit of the neighborhood in both static and dynamic forms, and measures twelve feet wide by nine feet tall. The surface of the letters on the sign are mirrored, and the sign can come to life instantly with various animations and light patterns through the usage of social media hashtags, which can be programmed to reflect topical issues or community events. Tech companies in the neighborhood are invited to suggest new hashtag ideas. The first programmed hashtag include #DUMBOselfie and  #DUMBOwedding (nods to the neighborhood’s status as one of New York City’s premier spots for photography); #DUMBOMagic – an ultimate decider feature, which delivers a “magic eight ball”-style randomized display to help anyone sort through pressing issues of the day using color-coded animations.

Following its debut at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the sign has traveled throughout the community - holding court in the Archway and now at Empire Stores.

Additional features of the DUMBO Reflector include a binary clock, which keeps time on the hour; traffic status information delivery for the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges using data from the New York City Department of Transportation (and also available on demand using #DUMBOTraffic); and the distribution of weather information every ten minutes using data from Darksky.

The installation is constructed from DIBOND mirrored aluminum composite, acrylic two-way mirrors, and stainless steel supports, and it is lit from within by 400 Enttec RGB LED Dots connected to an Enttec Pixelator. Two custom software applications—a cloud server for remote administrative control and a local application, developed in TouchDesigner, to send content to the installation—were created to drive the Reflector’s content and interactivity. The two applications are able to communicate bi-directionally using WebSocket objects and JSON data.
“I designed the DUMBO Reflector to literally reflect the culture of DUMBO back onto itself,” said multimedia artist David Crumley. “At its core, community is the people and scenes that inhabit a place, and the digital interactive features of the sign provide a commentary on how we interact in our communities today, how dialogue takes place, and the need for physical space and art to bring us together.”

”We wanted to take the idea of a traditional welcome sign and give it the royal DUMBO treatment. The DUMBO Reflector is a physical reminder of the vibrancy of this community and our commitment to creativity, innovation and yes, it’s a pretty awesome photo op,” said Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District. “We are thrilled to bring this interactive installation that truly epitomizes the DUMBO spirit to the community.”

“Opening the John St and Main St sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park has really strengthened our connection to the DUMBO community,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Unveiling the DUMBO Reflector at John Street is a great way to celebrate our partnership with the neighborhood and with the DUMBO Improvement District.”