Lifesaver Movement - CODAworx

Lifesaver Movement

Submitted by Yvette Kaiser Smith

Client: State of Illinois Capital Development Board - UIUC

Location: Urbana, IL, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $30,000

Project Team


Yvette Kaiser Smith


Linda Norbut Suits

Illinois Capital Development Board


Maryalice Wu



128 feet long and about 10 feet wide, this corridor is a student study area and houses ATLAS, department of Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts & Sciences. The space is experienced as an infinite stretch through its length; reinforced by a continuous line of dashes created by light fixtures on a dropped ceiling; reinforced by window / wall / window repetition; reinforced by light from 11 windows which creates a line of irregular rectilinear shapes on the art site wall. Brief was to energize the lifeless white corridor with color and reference computers.


I wanted to respect, embrace, and continue this natural movement within this massive hallway. I chose to use the small wall spaces book-ending the long expanse for 2 reasons: to stretch the line as far as possible to really feel that expanse and to roughly reference the bracketed quote panels featured, in relief, on the historical exterior of Lincoln Hall.
Lifesaver Movement in e is based on the beginning sequence of the number e. It expresses each digit in binary code via the crochet tradition of filet charts. Filet charting is a traditional crochet format based on patterns created on a grid, where squares are either filled or left open to create an image. All computer language is based in binary code, a code of either 0 or 1 for a computer to toggle between. Combining these two on/off systems: 0 = off = open square; 1 = on = filled square. Using a free online text to binary translator, I translated digits in text (the words: zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine) to binary strings.
Lincoln Hall has always housed Arts & Sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of this work reflects the spirit of this division.


When designing commissions, I go to what I do, which is wall-based geometric structures based on math sequences expressed in crocheted fiberglass and use aspects of the site to give the work specificity. Although the original specified art site was the 76 foot center wall, I chose to activate the small wall at either end, not only to reference the structure of the historic bracketed quote panels featured, in relief, on the exterior of Lincoln Hall, but also to honor and continue the experience of that 125 foot long stretch.
The director of ATLAS, Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts & Sciences, wanted: color to activate the space and reference to computers which pushed me to develop a new way of articulating digits to create surface patterns. I couldn't have imagined the use of binary code to articulate digits without directive to reference computers. The title Lifesaver not only references the color palette, which reminds of a roll of Lifesaver candies, but also that Applied Technologies can become someone’s lifesaver. Also, the green is working off the green seating cubes; the red picks up tones of exterior brick; the white picks up exterior stone elements.

Additional Information

Full group consists of 30 squares. Each square is approximately 29" x 30" x 4". The group of 27 on center wall is 55" x 836" x 4", seventy linear feet. Full span of artwork, end to end, is 111 linear feet. Pattern within each square spells out the first 30 digits of e, in binary code, using the crochet charting system. Sequence continues to break the line of 30 into groups, floating or dropped. This short sequence is 266249, 2 squares up; 6 squares down, etc.. I continue to use sequence to drop placement of color.