National Nordic Museum acquires Ginny Ruffner's Project Aurora

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National Nordic Museum acquires Ginny Ruffner's Project Aurora
The 20-foot light installation evokes the Aurora Borealis using renderings of the phenomenon and tens of thousands of LED lights. Photo: Jim Bennett, Photo Bakery for National Nordic Museum.

SEATTLE, WA.- The captivating green and blue rivers of the Aurora Borealis will be on permanent display at the National Nordic Museum. The installation created by world renowned artist Ginny Ruffner is now part of the museum’s permanent collection of art and artifacts.

Project Aurora is a bright wall of light, 20 feet high and 10 feet wide, made up of 34,560 individual LED lights. Shimmering sheets of colored light, drawn from images of the Aurora Borealis, are programmed to undulate across the wall of light. Microprocessors update the installation 20 times per second, creating a peak brightness of 350,000 lumens; the light equivalent of 225 traditional 100-watt bulbs. Aided by artificial intelligence, the piece captures the unpredictability of the natural phenomenon.

“The Nordic Museum is the PERFECT place for Project Aurora. I am thrilled and very honored that it is becoming a part of their permanent collection,” said Ginny Ruffner.

Ruffner worked in collaboration with Ed Fries, a prominent video game programmer and entrepreneur, and Wanda Gregory, a University of Washington lecturer and former video game professional, to evoke an experience of ephemeral beauty for viewers of the artwork.

“Project Aurora illustrates two of the Museum’s core values; innovation and connection to nature,” said the museum’s chief curator, Leslie Anderson. “As a nationally recognized cultural organization, our goal is to offer diverse and impactful exhibits and exhibitions that engage visitors of all backgrounds. This installation is a perfect example of that vision.”

The Nordic Museum’s collection of over 80,000 objects continues to expand. Recently acquired pieces for their latest special exhibition, Nordic Utopia?, allow the Museum to tell these stories in perpetuity through its collection.

On May 23rd at 6:00, there will be a panel discussion with Ruffner, Fries and Gregory, moderator by the Museum’s chief curator, Leslie Anderson.

Project Aurora is on display to visitors from noon to 10pm, Tuesdays through Sundays.

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