Watch What Music Looks Like with Luke Vink’s “The Bloom” at Gratitude Migration

Header image by Kate Hess. Written by Jillian Richardson.

Whenever hardware interface designer Luke Vink creates a project, it typically has a clear purpose– whether it’s an app that helps diabetics track their blood sugar or an organ that generates electricity. (Really.) So, when Vink went to Burning Man, he was pleasantly surprised by the outrageous designs of the art around him. The projects were silly– they were simply there to bring joy and spark conversations. As Luke told the team at Gratitude Migration, going to the Burn inspired him “to make something for the sake of making people smile.”

 Photo courtesy of Luke Vink

Photo courtesy of Luke Vink

The Bloom, an experiential art piece that visually represents sound, is the result of Vink’s post-Playa vision. As the designer explains, “The Bloom is a school of playful jellyfish arranged in an interactive garden, where each jellyfish responds to a different frequency range of sound. Together, they form a rich physical representation of sound that can also respond to people as they move their hands close to each creature.” This collection of jellyfish– AKA bubbles– was inspired by the fluorescent forest in the movie Avatar, as well as the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

You can watch and listen to a piece of music, and see how the music is transforming over the course of a piece,” Luke told us. “I have an equalizer, and I play around with it, so people can understand how the project works. In the middle you have the bass, and then it goes out to the treble sounds, and then the vocals.”

When Luke brought The Bloom to Gratitude Migration in 2015, he wasn’t sure how it would fit in with the festival’s environment. After all, he’d only seen the piece in his living room. Yet the designer was pleasantly surprised by his project’s reception. “A lot of people lay underneath it and chilled out, which I wasn’t expecting at all,” Vink said. “People were saying that different parts, which move to different frequencies of sound, seemed like different characters. They were associating them with their friends. So, if there was a fast-moving part of the project, someone would say, ‘Oh, that’s like Alex!’ Or, ‘That one’s like Jason!’ It was great.”

 Photo Courtesy of Luke Vink

Photo Courtesy of Luke Vink

Luke’s experience at Gratitude was especially memorable, because it was the first year of the festival. “Although I’ve been to festivals before, my personal experience at Gratitude was very new. It was all these people I knew, coming together to build something on a beach, right near a local community,” Luke said. “As a result, you have all these people– whether they have a lot of money, or not much at all– enjoying this festival at the time time. And because of that, the energy is nuts. It was an emotionally magical place for me to be, as well as an artistic one.”

Luke won’t be at this year’s festival, but he’s excited to hear how people respond to The Bloom’s new, interactive elements. “Of all the projects I’ve ever done, this is the most rewarding, because of the pure intention,” Vink said. “I just want to give a sense of delight.”

Ready for some smiles? Get your beautiful booties packed for Gratitude Migration, and prepare to discover The Bloom for yourself!


Side Note: Luke is going to Burning Man, and wants to bring The Bloom with him. He just needs some people to help him transport it! If you think you can lend a hand, reach out to Luke via his website. Much love, Migrators!