John Rothenberg YG5

  • Current Location: Boston
  • Studio: Sosolimited

John Rothenberg lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is a founding partner of the art and technology studio Sosolimited. He studied at MIT, where he received BS and SMArchS degrees from the Department of Architecture. His work there centered around the intersection of public space and interactive technology. In 2003 he was a fellow at the Designlab Siemens Mobile in Munich and at MIT he was a research affiliate of the Computing Culture Group led by Chris Csikzentmehalyi. Sosolimited has performed and exhibited artwork internationally at festivals and museums including Ars Electronica, Transmediale, Walker Art Center, Cooper Hewitt, Shanghai Biennial, and the ICA Boston.

Portfolio Imagery:

  • Project 1 of 5

    CSIS Global Data Chandelier

    The Global Data Chandelier is a custom light fixture commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies for their new headquarters in Washington, DC. CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit think tank focused on international policy and issues of global significance. 425 hanging pendants form a map of the world when viewed from below. This map becomes a low-res display for illustrating global data such as GDP growth rate, renewable water resources, and energy consumption. Each data set is paired with a unique lighting animation. In addition, CSIS can highlight regions of the map that correspond with international developments or events within the building.


    Sosolimited partnered with Hypersonic Engineering & Design, Plebian Design, and Chris Parlato to design, program, and fabricate this one-of-a-kind chandelier. We'd like to give special thanks to the team at CSIS, including Dr. John Hamre, Mason Osborne at Jones Lang LaSalle, and Tom Carrado at Hickok Cole for their help in making this chandelier possible.

  • Project 2 of 5

    iHeartRadio Dynamic Media Wall

    Installed at the entrance to the newly built iHeartRadio Los Angeles Theater, this 25 foot long wrap-around LED wall provides an ever changing montage of concert footage, Twitter content, and event info. Staff members can set up many types of content that will automatically transition throughout the day on preset schedules, or be controlled on the fly. The system has a great amount of versatility to accommodate the many concerts, TV broadcasts, and private events held in the venue. The types of media that can be displayed on the wall are: uncompressed HD videos, live concert feeds, realtime Tweets, concert photography, custom branding walls and marquee text. All media types are seamlessly transitioned between, and all the visual elements are modifiable via a Cloud based CMS.


    Sosolimited : Programming, Hardware Design. The D4D : Media Design, Montage. Matt Papi : CMS Design. Meyer Davis : Interior Design. PRG : Installation.

  • Project 3 of 5

    Energy of the Nation

    Sosolimited partnered with Ignite to create a Twitter-powered light show on the EDF Energy London Eye. For the duration of The Games, every tweet originating in the UK that mentioned the Olympics was analyzed for positive and negative emotion. A total of 3,500,000 tweets were analyzed over the course of The Games. The emotional highs and lows of the U.K. were captured and turned into a daily light show on the London Eye. Each night, the previous 24 hours of Twitter sentiment data was compressed into a half-hour light show. A large LED screen near the eye displayed real-time sentiment data feeds, recent positive and negative language, and selected tweets.


    Client: EDF. Concept and Project Management: Ignite. Lighting Design, Data Visualization & Programming: Sosolimited. Backend API Dev: Bocoup. Database Hosting: Cloudant. Video Documentation: Ceremony Independent.

  • Project 4 of 5

    Patterned by Nature

    Patterned by Nature was commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences ( for the newly built Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The exhibit celebrates our abstraction of nature’s infinite complexity into patterns through the scientific process, and through our perceptions. It brings to light the similarity of patterns in our universe, across all scales of space and time. 10 feet wide and 90 feet in length, this sculptural ribbon winds through the five story atrium of the museum and is made of 3600 tiles of LCD glass. It runs on roughly 75 watts, less power than a laptop computer. Animations are created by independently varying the transparency of each piece of glass. The content cycles through twenty programs, ranging from clouds to rain drops to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to geese to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes. The animations were created through a combination of algorithmic software modeling of natural phenomena and compositing of actual footage. An eight channel soundtrack accompanies the animations on the ribbon, giving visitors clues to the identity of the pixelated movements. In addition, two screens show high resolution imagery and text revealing the content on the ribbon at any moment.


    Patterned by Nature was created by Plebian Design, Hypersonic Design & Engineering, Patten Studio, and Sosolimited.

  • Project 5 of 5

    Set Top Box

    A small television sits out front, playing TV. Projected onto the wall directly behind is a live transformation of the television signal. In this version, we used a live feed from the SOAP channel, a non-stop source of American daytime soap operas and frighteningly loud commercials. The transcript of the broadcast is turned into a three dimensional topography of colors, oscillating forms, and linguistic computations. The software watches TV, combing the transcript for emotional and thematic content. The TV soundtrack is transformed into a multi-layer composition, alternating from lifeless robotic speech to cavernous melodic drones. The effect is a floating typographic life form - fed by, performed by, and eternally making sense of, the television. The piece was shown at the Shanghai Biennale as well as Graphic Design: Now in Production.

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