Light Show in Jackson, Wyo.

A brilliant art display explores the inner workings of a library in Jackson, Wyo.

Filament Mind, public art installation at Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyo., image

Fiber-optic cables flicker constantly at the Teton County Library.

If you could depict a library's activity at any moment, it might look like Filament Mind, a new public artwork strung overhead in the lobby of the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyo.

The installation holds 1,000 fiber-optic cables, over six miles in all, that stretch 70 feet from a bank of colored lights in a tower to wall signs bearing the names of every topic in the Dewey Decimal System—Asian history, say, or phrenology. Each time a computer user searches the library catalog, the cable to that topic blinks on and off as if alive.

“We imagined a brain and nervous system without bones and flesh, like a glowing creature deep in the ocean,” says architect Yong Ju Lee, who designed and built the sculpture with Brian Brush, his partner at the New York firm E/B Office. The goal, he says, was to “visualize things we can’t really see—thought, curiosity, social interaction.”

To help visitors follow along, an eye-level screen shows the searches, making the setup something of an open book. (307) 733-2164, tclib.org.

Photography by David Agnello

This article was first published in January 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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