The Nautilus is an interactive installation created by SOFTlab in partnership with Lincoln and Atlantic Re:think. The installation is a field of 96 touch-activated poles that when activated, create a symphony of sound and light. While a single touch produces one melody, simultaneous interactions with the installation create a complex, layered chorus. Each pole also contains a series of lights that respond to the array of tones created by the installation. Located at Pier 17 in Manhattan’s historic Seaport District, the site-specific installation’s mast like elements blend the pier's edge with the surrounding docked ships.
The installation is inspired by Lincoln’s new crossover vehicle, the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus. The Nautilus represents the idea that the vehicle puts the driver in control by monitoring the environment in ways outside of the spectrum of what we see and sense. While the field of poles gives the installation an environment for people to explore and walk through, it is also evocative of the constellation of idiosyncratic events the Lincoln Nautilus measures and analyzes. While this environmental intelligence greatly improves safety, we chose to design an installation that focuses on how these sensors also provide a fun and enjoyable experience. The installation acts as a touch interactive environment that allows people to come together to produce an unexpected symphony of light and sound. As a person touches the middle portion of a pole it activates a tone based on metrics of their touch. As that tone is played, lights in the surrounding poles react with a pulse emanating from that pole. When multiple people activate poles the installation plays them in sequence. The installation acts like a large network, reacting to various inputs from the people and the environment much like the Lincoln Nautilus. At the center of the installation is a circular area surrounded by a spectrum of acrylic panels for people to few the surrounding activity through various colored lenses. This second experience is evocative of how the vehicle augments and visualizes activity in the environment that we can’t normally see.