Pexel: Experiential PixelMapping

Combining unique physical arrangements of individually addressable LEDs with specifically crafted procedurally generated video content allows for a new type of visual design element that borrows from both video and lighting design philosophies. Various combinations of organic and geometric concepts applied to both the physical structure and the virtual pixel data allow emergent patterns to arise that would not usually be possible on a screen or from a traditional lighting fixture.

Pete Thornbury

Pete has been working in the event production / technical theatre community for almost 20 years, primarily in the lighting design and programming industry ever since graduating from the College Conservatory of Music in 2005. Some of the more personal artistic projects that have occurred are shown here, and a list of professional organizations and events as well as a resume can be found at PeteOnline.net

Liminal Soundbath at FORM Arcosanti

Collaborating with Juan Azulay, we constructed a half dome LED structure covered with addressable LEDs and run by a live-coded audio reactive TouchDesigner system. The structure was hung from a massive concrete arch and while swaying in the breeze, provided an hour of atmospheric algorithmic lighting while Jónsi Birgisson, Alex Somers and Paul Corley of Sigur Rós performed an iteration of their Liminal Soundbath.

Treasures of Los Angeles

The Central City Association of Downtown LA contracted pexel and YKL Studios to create a one of a kind sculptural LED installation for their yearly Gala as the annual featured artist of the event. Custom constructed vertical LED poles combined with specifically chosen and arranged dangling adornments created an almost volumetric effect especially when enhanced by the event's lighting designer.

Los Angeles Video Artists

LAVA, a long running Los Angeles group of Video Artists, relaunched recently and some pexels spilled onto the floor, so we mapped them in X/Y space and everyone took turns creating geometric / audio reactive patterns on the organic / chaotic looking mess on the floor.

Next Art Tech

Pexels was debuted during Next Art Tech at Playa Studios in Culver City March of 2017 for one night.

Installed as four organic helical strands around the center stage and multiple strips integrated with a pre-existing cubic sculpture, the LEDs were "played" like an instrument throughout the night from a custom designed controller, reacting to the music from DJs as well as headliner synth group KRON.

Red Bull - Three Days in Portland

Contracted by Red Bull, Next Art Tech took pexels to Portland for a three day music festival where we covered the ceiling in LEDs and created an immersive and reactive evening for all three sold out shows.

The flexibility of the custom developed modular control software allowed us to integrate with the existing lighting system and create a cohesive production design that fit in with the theme of the event, the corporate image of Red Bull Sound Select, and the artistic influence of pexels to create a truly unique (and under budget) concert experience.

The LEDs lend themselves well to verdant environments, staying hidden among the trees and bushes until subtle animation across the strands gives away their structure and imbues an extra level of depth to the already beautifully complex structures of plant life.


This is where elements of pexels were first developed and continues to be a long term experimentation / incubation locale, as well as a proving ground for the durability of outdoor usage and possible long term installation.