LED Video


Jim Campbell (USA)

Location: St Mary’s College, Durham University

Giant human shadows appear to float across a 3D matrix of light

LED bulbs, programmed to flicker at the command of computer programming, create the illusion of figures moving across the square in front of St Mary’s College, reflecting the human experience amidst the urban landscape. As you explore the artwork, the vantage point alters and the light figures begin to abstract, blurring the boundaries between image and object.

Scattered Light incorporates almost 1,600 LEDs to construct a vibrant grid spanning twenty feet high and eighty feet wide across the centre of St Mary’s College.  Jim Campbell is a contemporary San Francisco based artist, known as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of new media art.

His piece seeks to play tricks with our usual depth perception— expanding a 2-D scene into three real dimensions—all the while creating a contrast between urban bustle and the cool darkness of the night time ground of the College.

Scattered Light was originally commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy.

The work has been shown in exhibitions worldwide including Fleeting Light, The 4th Annual Interactive Media Arts Exhibition in Hong Kong, Perth International Arts Festival in Australia and Northern Spark Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota



St Mary’s has a wide pathway on a gentle slope from South Road (past the Teaching and Learning Centre), and a wide flat driveway from Elvet Hill Road.


About Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell is a contemporary San Francisco based artist, known as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of new media art. He received degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from MIT in 1978. He transitioned from filmmaking to interactive video installations in the mid 1980s. His custom electronic sculptures and installations have made him a leading figure in the use of computer technology as an art form.

Campbell’s work is unique in that his media and message are inseparable. He uses technologies developed for information transfer and storage to explore human perception and memory.

His work involves pixelated representations created with grids of LEDs, which have such low resolution as to defy comprehension. Exploring the line between representation and abstraction, Campbell’s work looks at the human ability to interpret information and “fill in the gaps” to form a complete idea.



​It’s about exploding an image, tearing it apart, and spreading it out.

Jim Campbell



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