The San Carlos Street Lantern Relay – San Jose, California

One of the main thoroughfares Downtown San Jose has a whimsical, interactive light feature called the Lantern Relay. Along several blocks of San Carlos Street, several tall light poles carry two-meter-long lanterns that are programmed to turn on when it gets dark. The multi-colored lanterns are pretty enough on their own, but large buttons on the poles themselves invite passers-by to interact with them.

Coincidentally, all the lanterns are connected to each other. When you push the button on a pole, each of the eight lanterns on the street responds with a flash of light that races up and down on each device (think of the laser you shoot at enemy ships in Space Invaders.)

Artists Steve Durie & Bruce Gardner state on their website that the purpose of the San Carlos Lantern Relay is completely playful, allowing pedestrians to have fun “sending and receiving light messages up and down the urban corridor.”

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