Tristan Cunha leaning against a fence with bougainvillea flowers, holding a tabby cat, which is stretching up to boop his nose.

Tristan Cunha

Kinetic Chandelier

Tristan’s annual holiday light show is a highlight on the Somerville Illuminations Tour, and a beloved neighborhood tradition. The Kinetic Chandelier uses the same programmable LEDs, but trades music for motion.

The piece is made with 3D printed parts, woodworking, and custom designed circuit boards. It’s run by 6 arduino microcontrollers running 35 stepper motors. Each motor is paired with a WS2811 3-channel LED encased in a ping pong ball.

I have lived in Somerville for 12 years and have been designing and building outdoor lightshow installations for much of that time. The growth of communities supporting open source software and hardware, as well as vibrant spaces supporting makers and artists, has allowed me to take on projects of increasingly complex and dazzling electronic art. Nearly every tool and piece of software I use was designed, built or written by someone else, often many other people, and made available for free to anyone.