116 x 31 Simmons Hall Live Projection Installation

2021-22 CAMIT Grant Recipient

About the Project

It’s known on campus as “the sponge.” But on three nights in April, the porous façade of Simmons Hall will be transformed into a scintillating digital canvas with 116 x 31. This large-scale interactive installation, created by undergraduate design major Karyn Nakamura, will light up one of MIT’s most iconic residence halls.

Titled 116 x 31 after the number of horizontal and vertical squares that compose Simmons Hall’s metal frame, Nakamura’s three-night installation uses three projectors set up in Briggs Field to animate the Simmons façade. Illuminated, each of the metal squares becomes a pixel, composing shifting digital images that flit across the building’s surface. The 116 x 31 unit grid serves as the canvas for a live audio-reactive projection installation. Using video and audio mathematically manipulated to reflect the structure of Simmons, the projection is animated live as audience members speak into a microphone.

“This is a great technical accomplishment,” says Joshua Higgason, a Technical Instructor in MIT Music and Theater Arts who advised Nakamura on the project. “But it’s far more than that. What Karyn is doing here is also exceptional art.”  

The project is supported by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT with additional support from Music and Theater Arts and the Arts at MIT.

Public Events

Past Events

116 x 31 Simmons Hall Live Projection Installation
Friday, April 8-10, 2022 / 9–11pm
MIT Briggs Field, 250 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139


Karyn Nakamura was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and is studying Course 4-B (Art and Design) at MIT. She learned to code making data visualizations at the start of the pandemic and has since branched into creating work in motion graphics, net art, audiovisual performances, interactive projection, lighting installations, video hardware hacking, and basically anything that involves an interaction with technology.

Nakamura has presented her work at venues including MAPP Montreal, a projection mapping festival organized by MUTEK; Neo Shibuya TV, a series of digital billboards in Shibuya, Tokyo; projection installations across MIT’s campus including in Building 26-100, MIT Open Space, the Stratton Student Center, and various white walls in the Infinite Corridor; and online gatherings for users of TouchDesigner, the visual programming language she uses for much of her work.

A big fan of early computer/net art, Gregg Araki, and modern Japanese history, Nakamura spends all her time experimenting with whatever she decides she is interested in each day (currently, it’s manual data transfer switches).

Website: karynnakamura.com
Social: Instagram

This project was created with support from Joshua Higgason, Technical Instructor in MIT’s Theater Arts program. At MIT, Higgason teaches performance media, interactive design for live performance, and lighting design. Professionally he has designed countless live experiences for events, concerts, operas, theaters and has continued developing into a unique voice in the world of immersive media-driven experiences.

BiographyMIT Music and Theater Arts