Leigh Christie

2014 – Venice Biennale – Local Warming

Local Warming allows you to heat people, rather than building. It was installed at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. It was my thesis project at MIT and it was funded by the SENSEable City Lab. The basic idea was to “put the heat where the people are” (which is exactly what the PI of the lab, Dr. Carlo Ratti, told me to do when I started my research). I came up with this idea of using a cold mirror to reflect visible light back into the system and filter everything but the long(er) wave infrared. Thus making it possible to use a very powerful point source of radiation to create a heat lamp. The parabolic mirror allowed me to take this point source of radiation and calumniate it thus creating a “heat spotlight” of sorts. The original prototype was on a gimbal, but this particular version was only 1 DOF. We tracked people (in order to beam the heat at them) a number of different ways, but the most promising was computer vision using ordinary cameras.