Human 'Fireflies' Transform British City Into Magical Wonderland


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Last year's spectacular London Summer Olympic games may seem like an event of the past, but its legacy is still manifesting itself in impressive ways. 'Speed of Light,' an art performance combining technology and athleticism to showcase the travel of light using human generated kinetic energy, is one of the most stunning examples.

March 21st marked the first night of the spectacular show in Manchester, England. Thousands of spectators gathered to watch what at first glance looked like lights being projected from a screen on a building or from the sky. But the dazzling array of colors along the banks of Salford Quays, were actually being created by 400 human runners, dressed head-to-toe in LED lights . . . definitely not your conventional running apparel!

Labeled 'human fireflies,' the unique suits are centrally controlled so that the color, flash-rate and luminosity can be instantly changed resulting in mesmerizing light patterns. This also allows the performance to be carefully choreographed and set to pre-determined sound and music, adding to the magical quality.

However, what is most interesting about this art performance is that the electricity needed to power the LED's is generated by the human runner, with the help of a dynamo that sits on the wrist and converts his/her brisk movements into electricity.

The brainchild of Scottish Arts charity, NVA, the running art has been making its way around the world after a successful debut at the Edinburgh International Festival where it was hailed as the centerpiece of the event. Besides the recent two-day performance in Manchester, they have also showcased their skills on the docklands of Yokohama in Japan.We sure hope they make their way to the USA soon.


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