A photo of a young girl holding balloons in front of the Scattered Light art installation at the New York Hall of Science.

Light Mixes With the DIY Maker Spirit to Create Art

The DIY art installation Scattered Light consists of 528 26-foot lengths of fluorescent orange and pink flagging tape hanging inside the entrance to NYSCI. Workers in the surveying and forestry fields use the strips of colorful vinyl known as flagging tape to mark utilities, boundaries and trees. Created by artist, architect and inventor Dick Esterle, Scattered Light takes advantage of the circular shape of NYSCI’s entrance, allowing for multiple views of the patterns and color shifting of the flagging tape. The piece plays with space, light, color and perception, and changes as sunlight shifts around the building. Along with flagging tape, Scattered Light uses paperclips and metal rods, all simple and inexpensive materials that exemplify the maker and DIY spirit.

“The NYSCI rotunda’s shape geometry, windows and skylights offer a great space to expand on my Light series, providing a place to observe the rotation of the earth and it’s relationship to the sun, and by association, our relationship to the world,” said Dick Esterle. “Since the art piece is in a science hall, it offers the added chance to think about the origins of science and quest for understanding and “seeing” the world.”

About Artist Dick Esterle

Dick Esterle, originally from Kentucky, is an artist, architect and the inventor of the Nobbly Wobbly ball, the Klackeroo, Space Chips, and the Amazing Geometry Machine. In a nod to his Kentucky roots, Esterle included mirror balls in the Scattered Light piece. A Louisville, Ky. company manufactured the vast majority of disco balls made in the United States during the disco craze of the 1970s.

After graduating university in architecture and art, he moved to New York City in the 1980s and worked with the architect Paul Rudolph and later the artist Isamu Noguchi. While there, his interest in a particular tensegrity model hanging on Noguchi’s wall would later give rise to the Amazing Geometry Machine and eventually lead him into the world of math and art and toy design.


Admission, Directions and Hours

Scattered Light is free with NYSCI admission. Acquire tickets on the day of your visit in the exhibition area or save by buying a combo ticket package online.

Scattered Light is open during regular museum hours:

  • Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm

Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, NY, NYSCI is easily reached from the Grand Central Parkway, Long Island Expressway and the Bronx-Queens Expressway. Parking is available onsite. Or take the NYC subway: #7 train to 111th Street. For more information about travel options, see the directions section on our Admission page.

Buy Admission  

Resources and Additional Info

Turning Flagging Tape Into Art

Daily News Article About Scattered Light

Interested in making your own projects? Join us for a weekend workshop in Maker Space or check out our DIY tutorials to make something at home!