Art Installation Spotlight: “Game of Life” by cyancdesign

Local designer Chris Yanc (cyancdesign) will debut a preview of his latest project for this fall’s festival, the “Game of Life”, at Bal Ingenieux. Last September, cyancdesign brought the glowing Interactive Hallway and Digital Graffiti Wall, where festival goers used mock spray cans to create graffiti art on a large digital screen powered by openFrameworks.

The History of the “Game of Life”
The original “Game of Life” is based on the works of scientist John Conway, who devised a model in the early 1970s to explain how a neighborhood of cells could evolve alone under a simple set of rules. Conway’s theory has been studied and recreated by computer programmers for years as an example of automated design and evolution.

“Game of Life” 2012 at Bal Ingenieux & IngenuityFest
At Bal Ingenieux, cyancdesign will create an interactive LED wall that allows Conway’s classic “Game of Life” to actually be played. “Normally, there is little interaction with [the game],” Yanc explains. “You would set the game up at the beginning then let it run and see how it evolves. But it will be set up so that you’ll be able to interact with the game while everything is evolving to see how you are affecting it.”

Cyancdesign’s “Game of Life” will be controlled by openFrameworks which will relay information from the game player’s selections to an Arduino, an open source hardware often used for interactive electronic projects, and create the LED display.

A preview of the lights working in grid form:

The “Game of Life” Rules:

  1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population.
  2. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  3. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
  4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

“Anyone will be able to touch one of the cells on the wall to either make it alive or dead before the next evolution,” says Yanc. “The initial build will be a smaller version for the fundraiser coming up in May. Then the large wall version is planned for IngenuityFest.”

About cyancdesign
More information at

About Ingenuity

Ingenuity’s mission is to ignite the creative spark where the arts, science, and technology intersect. By animating Cleveland’s urban spaces with world-class, innovative experiences, Ingenuity provides a unique platform to explore the boundaries of art and technology.

To purchase tickets to Bal Ingenieux, IngenuityFest’s fundraiser on May 4, please visit