A Human Connection

A Giant Interactive Glowing Mushroom Art Piece

The piece is inspired by a human powered circuit experiment that I did as a kid. My science teacher had the entire class form a circle and hold hands. Then she had two of the kids disconnect and hold onto a sound maker. The device started buzzing. But when any two people stopped holding hands, the device turned off. The whole thing fascinated me, and I thought it was so cool! We were conductive enough to close a circuit. 

Recently I ran across an emergency LED light bulb that works in a similar way. When used in a standard lamp, it works like a regular bulb, but it has a small backup battery that the bulb switches to when there isn’t power. Basically, if you connect the power and ground on the base of the lightbulb, then the bulb will light up. Even if it’s not connected to an outlet. It’s hilariously fascinating, and it brought back all of that childhood wonder. This piece captivates that. 

The piece invites you to close the circuit by touching a left handprint and a right handprint. When the two are connected by a person, the LEDs will light up. The stem of the mushroom will have multiple sets of handprints that do different things. The handprints can be connected by a single person or even a circle of people holding hands. The connection is simply triggering a circuit and is very safe. 

An interactive giant mushroom that invites you to touch the pairs of handprints on the stem and play with the light that your touch triggers. 


Materials used throughout the project