About the Installation

Chasing Rainbows/New Haven (2004) was Site Projects’ inaugural exhibition. The billboard-sized light installation by Leo Villareal, illuminated first the New Haven Green -- where it ran 24/7 for for 7 weeks -- and then the Yale Repertory Theater’s Plaza.

The opening event for the International Festival of Arts + Ideas, the work consisted of 3 large panels, connected to form a rectangle 24 ft wide X 6 ft high that floated 12 ft above the ground. Each panel was made of 60 acrylic tubes (each 8 ft long) containing thousands of LED’s in red, blue and green capable of producing a palette of 16 million color combinations. Each light was programmed by the artist to respond to a simple set of rules.

Inspired by mathematician John Conway’s, Game of Life, and using the principles of cellular automata (a field of mathematical research involving systems in which grid cells evolve in relation to neighboring cells), Villareal produced a complex system where the LEDs take on a life of their own, creating a kinetic rainbow made up of base sequences, triggered in random order and continuing for varied lengths of time.

Chasing Rainbows/New Haven earned Site Projects an Arts Council Award in 2004.

About the Artist

Leo Villareal is a pioneering visual artist who works in a number of different media, most of which are outgrowths of his ongoing research in advanced computer programming. A Yale alumnus and graduate of New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts, Villareal uses light, new technology and sophisticated computer programming to create indoor and outdoor pieces that mesmerize and absorb the viewer.

Since exhibiting in New Haven, Villareal has exhibited widely, including showings at The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the site-specific work: The Bay Lights, an illumination of the entire San Francisco Bay Bridge. Check it out here.

Born in Albuquerque, NM, he currently lives and works in New York City.

Visit his website >

Sponsors, Donors and Supporters

Chasing Rainbows New Haven, presented by Site Projects 2004 in conjunction with Arts & Ideas New Haven, was made possible through grants, donations and support from:

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven
Artspace, Inc.
The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
Jim and Martha Alexander
Rick and Nancy Antle
The David Bermant Foundation – Color, Light and Motion
Phil Bernstein and Nancy Alexander
Nan Birdwhistell
Peter Chapman
The City of New Haven
Fred and Laura Clarke
The Committee of Proprietors of Common and Undivided Land
Jane Coppock

Sumner Crosby, Jr.
Jack and Betsey Dunham
The Eli Whitney Museum
Gordon and Shelley Geballe
David Hesse, MD
The JFM Foundation
Richard and Maria Kayne
Ruth Lapides
Kenley and Lynn Ford Lawton
Bob Levine, City of New Haven, Department of Parks, Recreation & Trees
Magdalena and Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes
Patrick McCaughey
Jerry and Roz Meyer
Barry Nalebuff and Helen Kauder
NewAlliance Foundation

Nick and Sara Ohly
Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects
Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock
Steve and Carol Ross
Schwartz & Hofflich, LLP
The Smart Family Foundation
Steven and Susan Smith
Edward Stanley Engineers, LLC
Wachovia Bank
Walker Solutions, Inc.
Esther Messick Weir
Wiggin and Dana
Yale University, Office of New Haven and State Affairs
Yale University, Office of the Deputy Provost for the Arts