Association for Public Art Presents “Open Air” Interactive 3-D Light InstallationBy Shannon Collins |
Open Air lights are tested over the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 16th. (Photos by Joseph Kaczmarek)
Engaging the public intimately is key for creating good art. At least that’s the idea behind electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s upcoming public installation that’s about to hit the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The newly renamed Association for Public Art — formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association — has commissioned the internationally acclaimed media artist for “Open Air.” The experiential work of art, created specifically for Philadelphia, will fuse public art with mobile technology to create a spectacular participatory experience that will illuminate the night sky with the voices of the city.
Using a free mobile application, participants are invited to record and submit messages of up to 30 seconds in length — shout-outs, poems, songs, rants, dedications, proposals. In response, 24 robotic searchlights, stationed strategically along a half-mile section of the Parkway, will create a dynamic light formation in the sky.
The giant three-dimensional light sculptures will be seen up to 10 miles away, with tens of thousands of individuals able to participate during the projects duration, and hundreds of thousands more to experience as viewers. The project is funded in part by the inaugural round of the Philadelphia Knight Arts Challenge and presented in conjunction with the 2012 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and the 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival.
Every evening from 8pm until 11pm from September 20th through October 14th, the lights will react in brightness and position to the GPS location of the participants and the frequency and amplitude of their voice recording, which can be heard through the app, the project website, and public speakers located at the project information center at Eakins Oval (24th St & the Parkway). The center will broadcast the voices of participants and have seating areas for watching the lights, with free mobile loan stations. There will also be an Information Outpost located at Sister Cities Park (18th Street and Logan Square).
The free “Open Air Philly” app, developed by Lozano-Hemmer’s studio, will be available from the iTunes store starting Sept. 20.
Voice of Philly
Priority will be given to those submitting messages from the Parkway, but for those not onsite, the project website will allow users to record messages that will be archived and played back by the lights if other web visitors rate them highly. All participants will have a personalized webpage created automatically with their message, comments, and images of the light sculptures that their voice created.
The messages with the highest ratings online will be featured during the Opening Night Celebration on Thursday, September 20th from 7:30 to 11pm. The celebration, presented in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Parks & Recreation, will include a selection of local food trucks, a live countdown and ceremonial lighting, with a presentation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, virtuoso voice performances and other special guests. In addition, the winner of an online message-recording contest will be announced; the winning message will be the first public voice to activate the searchlights.
The Open Air voice archive will feature selected “Voices of Philly,” recorded messages from distinct individuals past and present who have inspired and influenced the flavor of Philadelphia. “Voices of Philly” messages will be accessible on the Open Air website and will be played at various times throughout the project. Content for “Voices of Philly” was curated and produced by project partner WHYY, in consultation with the artist and the Association for Public Art.
Association for Public Art — the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning — continues to respond to developments in civic life, urban planning and artistic expression, working with communities, civic leaders, and artists like Lozano-Hemmer to make encounters with art a part of everyday life.
Association executive director Penny Balkin Bach expressed her excitement to bring the artist to Philadelphia to “create a work that will transform the skyline, engage the public in a unique experience and bring international attention to the city.”
Photos by Joseph Kaczmarekblog comments powered by Disqus