Submitted by Erik Carlson

Client: Denver Arts + Venues, City of Denver

Location: Denver, CO, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $165,000

Project Team


Erik Carlson

AREA C projects


Erica Carpenter

AREA C projects

Public Art Agent

Rudi Cerri

Denver Arts + Venues

Industry Resource

Kevin Manning


Industry Resource

Jon Krams

Philips Colorkinetics


Katie Barnes



CIRCUIT is a dynamic, interactive public artwork celebrating the spirit of progress and wellness that lies at the heart of the new Carla Madison Recreation Center, and at the heart of Denver at large. Through a monumental light display, the artwork projects, on the facility’s exterior facade, the levels of individual effort going on within, reframing these efforts on a communal scale. In breaking down the separation between interior and exterior, between the individual and the group, CIRCUIT seeks to engage the ways that individual actions can grow and coalesce into a greater whole, and a greater good for all.


CIRCUIT engages passersby on Colfax Avenue with live LED animations that reflect, in real time, the changing levels of activity going on inside the facility. Individual animated elements that gently drift and meander will gather, intensify and coalesce as these activity levels increase, reaching a climax at peak usage times and moving back toward more gentle and meditative displays during off-hours. The artwork’s form consists of two semi-circular light arrays, each comprised of a series of long, horizontal bars. These circular forms denote community, wholeness, the cycle of life; the bars denote the individual parts that make up the whole. The lights animating these forms reference the colorful “neon strip” character Colfax Avenue’s past, (speaking in particular to the numerous neon signs that often featured their own robust style of animation), while the technology-driven nature of the artwork as a whole firmly engages the current cultural moment, and looks ahead to the future.


The artwork uses custom designed sensors on selected exercise equipment to gather real-time data on individual activity, translating strides per minute into layers of color, density and activity on the artwork's animations. We worked with the rec center staff to identify the ideal exercise machines to integrate with artwork, and to settle on the "strides per minute" data collection.

We worked very closely with the rec center's project team -- and the architect Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture in particular -- to integrate the artwork into the building's design, both aesthetically and technically. By designing the artwork side-by-side with the building, we were able to realize efficiencies and cost savings throughout. It was a true team effort.