Millennium Glower

Postcommodity amplifies sinking Millennium Tower in new audio installation

San Francisco’s Millennium Tower has been sinking for over three years. (calpauly07/flickr)

Though it was announced in September that structural renovations estimated to cost over $100 million were approved to shore up San Francisco’s Millennium Tower, the 58-story building continues to sink and lean without a clear construction schedule in place. The Handel Architects-designed tower has been mired in controversy ever since it was completed ten years ago, and its infamy has only increased since its engineering oversights were made public.

Indigenous arts collective Postcommodity has developed a response to the growing notoriety of Millenium tower through a sound installation at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). Titled The Point of Final Collapse, the installation translates the gradual movement of the tower into ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) audio by using computational algorithms, which will “transform the sonification of the sinking and tilting of the Millennium Tower into therapeutic sounds designed to encourage relaxation by extending the power of the city’s scenic beauty,” according to the artists. Long Range Acoustic Devices will be installed in SFAI’s historic Chestnut Street Campus tower to “broadcast” the ASMR audio in a four-minute duration each day at 5:00 p.m., aimed in the direction of Millennium Tower and Downtown San Francisco in general

Postcommodity created The Point of Final Collapse to “engage the perspectives of a broad public by providing a call to prayer for relief from the economic stresses and dangers of a city in the throes of radical social, cultural, architectural, and economic transformation.” The artists, in other words, see the failure of Millennium Tower as a metaphor for the instability of San Francisco’s current economic and social symptoms, and hope that their piece will help offer a literal wakeup call.

The Point of Final Collapse is the final product of Postcommodity’s residency at SFAI, following the group’s win of the 2019 award from The Harker Fund of The San Francisco Foundation. The installation will open to the public on November 15.

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