A Head of Its Time: LED Sculpture Takes Larger-Than-Life Selfies

An interactive public art exhibit unveiled at the Greater Columbus (OH) Convention Center is taking the art of the selfie to a whole new level. Conceived by artist Matthew Mohr, As We Are is a 15-foot LED sculpture shaped in the likeness of a human head. 

The one-of-a-kind installation, engineered and produced by Design Communications Ltd. (DCL),  invites guests to step inside a photobooth where 32 cameras snap photos of a subject’s face. Facial recognition software then assembles the images into a flattened texture map which is then broadcast onto the exterior of the sculpture for all to see. 

The art piece is “intended to present Columbus as a welcoming, diverse society,” says Mohr, who suggests that the exhibit offers a commentary on the role that social media plays in our culture. 

“Something like this has never been done before,” says Jason Helton, executive vice president of SNA Displays.  “We pride ourselves in our vast engineering capability, and we really excel in highly custom projects like the LED head sculpture.” 

As We Are uses 850,000 LEDs and employs an innovative design, including a 5 mm pixel pitch and 24 customized layers of LED panel bands manufactured to DCL’s specifications. Each LED panel measures 1.55 inches wide by 6 inches high (8 pixels by 30 pixels), allowing the final piece to accommodate the tight radius of each unique layer. The sculpture’s LED façade features interior diodes packaged via surface-mount device (SMD) technology, offering crisp imagery and wide viewing angles. 

SNA Displays offers the widest array of SMD technology products in the LED display industry, from ultra-fine-pitch interior screens to wide-pitch exterior displays. 

“We worked closely with DCL to develop our custom panel and cabinet construction that was efficient for install and service, while respecting the artist’s design,” said Matthew Shubeck, SNA Displays project manager for the LED head project. “We focused on delivering a product that would closely integrate into the sculpture and reliably impress under the scrutiny that an art installation receives.” 

Mohr’s artwork is a popular showpiece at the newly renovated convention center. SNA Displays was honored to take part in the cutting-edge and impressive project and collaborate with well-respected industry partners. As We Are displays the many faces of Columbus and reveals the expansive capabilities of LED technology.