Shades Arcade: The Pompoms

The Pompoms, by designers Julieanne Eason and Carl Pavletich of Shades Arcade, is an immersive installation made up of ten giant pompoms which dance and swirl to a choreographed routine.

Cut from more than 150 metres of crimson fabric, The Pompoms is an immersive installation made up of ten giant pompoms which dance and swirl to a choreographed routine. Each vibrant pompom was laser cut into tall tassels of fine ribbon which stand at three metres tall. For the duo, the installation is an exploration of physics; how speed and rotation can manipulate a material to dance through space. At times the pompoms swirl out, skirting the ground, other times they tightly twist inwards; the final product almost like witnessing a waltzing room of scarlet gowns.


Each pompom is choreographed in code by Eason. This code sent by an Arduino micro-controller to the motors at the top of the pompoms. The code instructs the works to spin clockwise or anticlockwise, how long and how fast to do so, and ensures each work moves at the correct moment. All movements are coded as a series of commands to a number of beats, certain letters represent movements; for example, an uppercase 'A' represents slow & clockwise, a lowercase 'b' is fast and anticlockwise, and 'X' is rest. Each time the works are shown, the pompoms perform unique choreography designed only for that space; a movement score, akin to a music score, that is interchangeable and adaptable with every venue in which they wish to dance.


The Pompoms were commissioned by the Christchurch City Council as part of the urban regeneration initiative called ShoPop, which aims to bring life to vacant commercial spaces.

Shades Arcade is a Christchurch-based duo, Julieanne Eason and Carl Pavletich, who create interactive installation works in response to the ever-changing needs of the city around them. Eason’s artistic practice began in video and spatial design for theatre while Paveltich hails from the design industry and Fab Lab community, together they create immersive, interactive installation experiences with particular interest in the use of electronics, sensors, audio visuals, 3d printing, processing and arduino. Their works expand the scope of contemporary artistic design and creation by using new technologies to cleverly highlight the inherent performative potential of any space and material.