Posts tagged with "public art":

Nation’s largest public art project funded via Kickstarter and launching in September

The largest public art campaign in U.S. history features 52 artist-designed billboards and will commence in September in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, thanks to more than 2000 backers across 52 Kickstarter campaigns. The publicly-funded campaign is part of the 50 State Initiative, organized by For Freedoms, a project sponsored by non-profit arts service organization Artadia. The 50 State Initiative also amasses more than 200 institutional partners and 250 artists to produce “additional billboards, lawn signs, town hall meetings, and special exhibitions to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections,” according to a statement from the organizers. Kickstarter Director of Arts Paton Hindle explained that he was pleased to help the For Freedoms team with their first step. “At their core, both For Freedoms and Kickstarter seek to make art an integral part of society. Having all 52 projects succeed on Kickstarter is an affirmation that the greater global community believes in the power of art to spark dialogue and participation.” The billboards will tackle nationwide topics such as democracy, religion, sexual orientation, expression, and systemic oppression. Through the launching of the 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms hopes to create “a network of artists and institutional partners," as well as to “model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.”

Bjarke Ingels is crowdfunding a floating mirrored ball for Burning Man

Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of the Bjarke Ingels Group (and BIG Ideas, the studio's in-house think-tank) have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for its Burning Man 2018 project. ORB is an 80-foot-wide reflective sphere that, if funded, would bring an elevated mirror, wayfinding symbol, and “temporal monument” to the Black Rock Desert’s Playa in Nevada. ORB borrows the Earth's form (at 1/500,000th of the scale) to create a 360-degree mirror that will reflect the sky above and goings-on of the Burners below. Although the ORB will be inflatable to reduce the project’s environmental impact, the piece would be hoisted into the air via a 30-ton, 105-foot-tall steel arm. BIG partner Jakob Lange writes that the installation is a “tribute to mother earth & human expression,” and the piece will seamlessly blend into the desert sky at night as the festival lights dim. Below, the ORB will create a “light shadow” and help visitors navigate the festival's transitory metropolis, the 50,000-strong Black Rock City. The studio is looking to raise $50,000 before the start of this year’s Burning Man, which will run from August 26 through September 3. Backers can pledge to receive engraved stainless steel orbs of varying sizes, with a 40-inch-wide ball going to those who pledge $4,000 or more. Ingels is no stranger to the mind-expanding arts and culture festival, having thoroughly documented his prior trips on Instagram. The ORB will share Playa space with this year’s headlining temple from Arthur Mamou-Mani: the spiraling Galaxia, a timber tower inspired by the movement of planets, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. No word yet if Anish Kapoor will set his sights on the ORB.

AN tours the 2018 Young Architects Program installation at MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1’s 2018 Young Architects Program (YAP) installation is set to open for the summer on June 28, and The Architect’s Newspaper took a behind-the-scenes look at the winning entry from Minneapolis-based Dream The Combine. Husband-and-wife partners Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers of Dream The Combine, and Clayton Binkley of ARUP were on hand for a guided press preview of the steel-and-glass Hide & Seek, now installed in PS1’s courtyard. This year’s YAP installation is highly technical and stark at first glance, but is still responsive at the human-scale and cuts a striking figure as the lighting conditions change overhead. Eight intersecting elements made of black steel–Carruthers co-owns a metal fabrication shop in Minneapolis–stretch across PS1’s open space, creating a layered experience for museum-goers. Each end of the horizontal structures on the ground-level are capped with enormous suspended mirrors, which move both in response to the wind as well as visitor participation; the mirrored-panels have had handles welded to their back. The bending, constantly shifting viewpoints and reflections of Hide & Seek are designed to introduce a measure of spontaneity and unpredictability to the concrete-walled courtyard. Mirrors mounted high above the ground break the visual constraints of the PS1 courtyard and provide glimpses of the surrounding neighborhood to passerbys and vice versa. The installation’s central structure, a catwalk installed just past PS1’s entrance, turns into an infinitely-reflecting hallway as the mirrors at its ends move in the breeze. It also provides shade from the harsh summer sun via a stretched overhead canopy. As Newsom and Carruthers explained, the black fabric is intended to physically both block and filter the sun so that looking up invokes the feeling of viewing the night sky, as well as symbolically represent the poche of a drawn plan. A large-scale hammock nearby trades the plywood flooring of the catwalk for springy netting (though the installation doesn’t have a trampoline-level of bounce, AN’s editors spotted plenty of children trying to catch some air anyway). “For the 19th year of the Young Architects Program, Dream The Combine’s provocative intervention Hide & Seek tests the effects of rapid development in Long Island City, Queens and, more broadly, the American city,” wrote Associate Curator of MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design Sean Anderson. “Conceived as a temporary site of exchange, the proposal activates the MoMA PS1 courtyard as a speculative frontier to be magnified, transgressed, and re-occupied.” Hide & Seek will also act as a staging area for PS1’s Warm Up concert series, and the steel sculptures overhead will reportedly be bathed in mist and light at night in response to the music below. Hide & Seek will be on display and open to the public from June 28 until September 3. An exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art's main building showcasing the schemes from all five finalists will run concurrently.

LinkNYC kiosks will display iconic film director’s photos of old New York

Beginning this Thursday, LinkNYC kiosks around the city will feature images from the Museum of the City of New York’s (MCNY) extensive photography archive. The aptly named campaign, Summer in the City, is a partnership between the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT), LinkNYC, the city’s free Wi-Fi kiosk system, and MCNY. Images will be displayed from the Museum’s current exhibition, Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Passerby on the street will be able to catch a glimpse of the old New York through the lens of the iconic film director. Kubrick’s photographs highlight his formative years as a photographer (before he became a film director) for Look magazine in New York City between 1945-1950. The photographs focus on and capture the pathos of everyday life of the city, from street scenes to sporting events. The LinkNYC kiosks can be found dotted all over the city. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the program in 2016, more than 1,650 Links are active across all five boroughs and have replaced the old pay phones with sleek kiosks that feature free Wi-Fi, phone chargers, and digital displays for advertisements and in this case, art. It’s not the first time that LinkNYC has featured art on its kiosks from MCNY. Previous "exhibitions" on the kiosks include historic photos of women who influenced New York’s political history for Women’s History Month and "On This Day in NYC History" information. The MCNY and LinkNYC partnership is one of many programs that disseminate New York City’s history; others include the NYC Space/Time Directory from the New York Public Library, an app from Urban Archive that made more than 2,500 images of old New York available on-the-go, and a Civil Rights & Social Justice Map from the Greenwich Village Society.

Visiting UAP, the studio fabricating many of the biggest projects in art and architecture

UAP may not be a household name, but the firm is behind the scenes of many of the biggest projects in public art and architecture. With studios in Brisbane, Shanghai, and New York, UAP works with world-renowned artists and architects like Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, and Frank Gehry on highly complicated sculptures and architectural features. Most recently, it manufactured Phillip K. Smith III’s Open Sky with clothing brand COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan. UAP is also overseeing a number of projects in the Hudson Yards mega-development. Started in 1993 by brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin in Australia, UAP collaborates with artists, architects, developers, and governments to plan and fabricate large-scale projects. However, at their core the Tobins are committed to protecting artists’ voices and maintaining conceptual integrity—dealing with tight deadlines, engineering challenges, and logistical complexities to deliver the creator’s vision in full. In this way, they function as an extension of the artist’s studio, allowing artists to step back from management and go back to doing what they do best: making art. UAP is organized into three sectors: UAP Studio, which produces site-specific artworks and offers curatorial oversight and public art strategy; UAP Factory, which works alongside architects on building projects; and UAP Supply, which offers limited-edition and custom furnishings. While UAP’s business includes working with artists to make their visions materialize, the firm also works with developers and governments to curate and consult on the how, where, and who behind public art. Recently, it has been going even bigger and helping develop master plans and long-term public art strategy for clients such as the Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. Although handwork, traditional CNC, and cutting-edge fabrication techniques are integral to the practice, UAP is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. The team has been introducing virtual reality into its design process and collaborating with manufacturing researchers at Innovative Manufacturing CRC, Queensland University of Technology, and RMIT University to experiment with new robotic manufacturing systems that present a range of new possibilities. With his artist pedigree, founder Daniel has designed monumental projects, including the 197-foot-tall concrete tower Al Fanar (Beacon) in Saudi Arabia (with bureau^proberts) and a National AIDS Monument with the West Hollywood Foundation, to be completed in 2019. It’s this creative sensibility that’s central to UAP. It can help artists because they themselves are no mere fabricators; they’re partners in the creative process with an intimate knowledge of production and a deep investment in creative expression. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors New York This past winter’s blockbuster five-borough public exhibition from Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, showcased the work of UAP in one of its most memorable sculptures: the 40-foot mirrored cage underneath the Washington Square Arch. Made in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, the arch sculpture was one of two that UAP completed for Ai’s project. The subject of many photographs, the sculpture approached serious topics with levity—juxtaposing a passage with a cage, it troubled the constructed notion of borders and highlighted the different ways they restrict, regulate, and permit the movement of differentiated bodies. Nuage, promenade Miami Working with renowned designers (and another fraternal pair) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, UAP oversaw the construction of a series of metal and glass canopies in Miami’s design district. Called Nuage, promenade, the pergola is designed to engage with not only the surrounding built environment of Paseo Ponti, but also the natural environment, as native plants will slowly grow around the blue and green structure. SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico UAP worked on every step of the process, from design to fabrication to installation, for an external cladding system for a SHoP Architects expansion to the New Mexico contemporary art space SITE Santa Fe. The layers of folded and perforated aluminum cladding for the two entrances help to unify the extension as a whole and mesh it with the museum and the public space. UAP also worked with SHoP on the interiors of the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan. Wahat Al Karama Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates In 2016, UAP worked with British artist Idris Khan to realize the massive memorial park Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The central monument comprises 31 leaning tablets made of aluminum plates recycled from decommissioned armored vehicles. The tablets are inscribed with the names of service members and poems and quotes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At one end of the park is the Pavilion of Honor, completed with bureau^proberts. Made of 2,800 aluminum panels encircling seven glass panels by Khan, the meditative space is a quiet interior pause that complements the monolithic structure outside.

Christo floats monumental oil barrel installation in London’s Serpentine Lake

Artist Christo, famous for his large-scale landscape interventions, has completed work on The London Mastaba, a massive trapezoid made of multi-colored barrels and set afloat in London’s Serpentine Lake. The installation sits adjacent to the Serpentine Gallery and will run concurrently with the gallery’s retrospective of Christo and late wife Jeanne-Claude work. The London Mastaba is Christo’s first large-scale installation in the UK, and the trapezoidal form and the use of barrels is a return to both a shape and a material that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have consistently explored throughout their long career. The temporary sculpture, floating in the middle of the historic Hyde Park on top of an interlocking platform, was designed to be extremely visible without damaging the ecologically sensitive lake. The 7,506 barrels, arranged to create a colorful face on either side of the trapezoid, are stacked 65 feet high, 130 feet long, and 90 feet wide. When reflected in the surrounding lake, The London Mastaba’s split-face creates an ever-changing reflection. Much like the Serpentine Pavilion nearby, the sun’s movement over the course of the summer and resultant shadows will alter the work’s appearance every day. In name, form, and color, The London Mastaba references Islamic art. The red-and-white stripes on the round side of the barrels creates a visually homogenous “outer coating,” while the mauve, blue, and red outer walls are abstractions of the pointillist-styled artworks found in Islamic architecture. Even the word Mastaba references similarly-shaped Egyptian tombs. “For three months, The London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park's environment in the centre of London," said Christo in a statement. “The colours will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting. It has been a pleasure to work with The Royal Parks to realize The London Mastaba and with our friends at the Serpentine Galleries to create an exhibition showing Jeanne-Claude’s and my 60-year history of using barrels in our work.” The London Mastaba and accompanying show Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018 are free to the public. As with his other pieces, Christo has entirely self-financed the sculpture’s construction through sales of original works of art. The London Mastaba is currently open to the public and viewable through September 23, 2018, while the exhibition will run from June 19 through September 9, 2018. Christo is also well known for his fabric installations; the Lake Iseo-spanning The Modular Pier in Italy drew major crowds to the region in 2015, while the series of gates installed throughout Central Park in 2005 were met with widespread media attention (for better or for worse).

A St. Louis symposium imagines alternate urban futures inspired by Afrofuturism

We have to imagine a place before we can actually be there. So St. Louis–based artists and curators Gavin Kroeber, Tim Portlock, and Rebecca Wanzo invited their fellow citizens to imagine the urban future with “a two-day festival of art and ideas that explores the collisions of race, urbanism, and futurism, providing a platform for alternate visions of the St. Louis to come.” The name of the event, “Dwell in Other Futures,” comes from the novel Dhalgren by the Afrofuturist writer Samuel R. Delaney, who also served as the keynote speaker and underpinning force that bound together a number of the program’s participants. To open the event, Delaney recited a chapter from his most recent novel that bolstered the role that intimacy might play in how we understand our spaces. Held on April 27 and 28, the program included a collection of workshops and presentations, with special emphasis on performances. For example, the multidisciplinary artist Eric Ellingsen, along with his team of Tyvek-hazmat-suit-clad landscape architecture faculty and students from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, invited the public to join as they performed a choreographic ritual on an empty land parcel across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation. Inspired by the spray paint markings that often indicate underground utility lines, Ellingsen’s team challenged the audience to assume agency over the colored ground markings that make up our cities in order to speculate how infrastructure may connect us in more creative ways. Children and adults took charge of rolling paint applicators to inscribe the site with colorful lines while an overhead drone recorded the real-time mapmaking from a bird’s-eye view. Inside, artist Autumn Knight invited audience members to offer impromptu proposals for civic institutions as part of her La-A Consortium performance, positing playful yet bureaucratic titles such as “Shephanique Center for Literacy” and the “Jadavian Center for Creative Ecologies” as a starting point. By leveraging the power of intentional naming, Knight prompted the audience to consider how they might creatively impact the identities and activities of the organizations that constitute our society. The event closed with a bang as six different local participants delivered “Manifestos for a Future St. Louis.” These brief, bold, and highly choreographed proclamations required each participant to articulate a scenario about a possible future through whatever artistic means necessary. Architectural historian Michael Allen delivered a prescient soliloquy set to a Hollywood soundtrack, warning of a “non-topian” future that intensifies our troubled present, brimming with privatization and distrust of the public sphere. Maxi Glamour, the self-proclaimed “Demon Queen of Polka and Baklava” projected a nonbinary, gender-fluid future enacted by a spectacular drag performance. Social practice designer De Nichols closed the series with an optimistic call to action, imploring us to consider what parts of the status quo need to be destroyed in order to make space for “audacious” culture-makers and “fearless” justice-makers. What conclusions did the festival draw? Its participants proposed more questions than answers, implicating the audience every step of the way, but most assuredly, the celebratory collective voice proclaimed that the future will be black, the future will be queer, and the future city demands all of our emphatic participation.

David Hammons’ ghostly pier to rise in the Hudson after all

The skeletal recreation of Pier 52, an abandoned industrial shed that once jutted into the waters next to the High Line, will rise courtesy of the Whitney Museum, artist David Hammon, and a recent legislative victory in the New York State Senate. The pier was once a hub of for artistic intervention and under-the-radar sexual liberation, and Hammon has titled his “new” Pier 52 sculpture Day’s End after Gordon Matta Clark’s 1975 transformation of the building. The public piece was first announced in October of last year, and the Whitney has taken pains to avoid the mistakes of the adjacent Pier 55 by engaging with the local community boards at every step of the planning process. Complicating the sculpture’s installation has been the Hudson River Park Act, which established the Hudson River Park Trust’s stewardship of the waterfront and environmental protections for the river. Now, after the passage of legislation by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman yesterday (S8044A), the Hudson River Park Act has been amended to allow Day’s End to rise after all. While the Whitney will construct the stainless-steel sculpture offsite over a period of eight to 10 months and maintain the piece, the museum will be required to donate the sculpture to the Hudson River Park Trust under S8044A. While there are still regulatory hurdles to get over, Day’s End recently cleared a vote in the State Assembly and is likely to breeze to fabrication.

Absence is made tangible at the new national memorial to lynching victims

Absence is not abstract. It is felt and perceived. Absence implicates all of us inasmuch as it confounds the very writing of our stories. To see absence is to have our limits revealed, not as if in a mirror, but in a manner that shows that we are entangled with distant tethers that keep our bodies, our histories, in check. Absence, when made visible, is not observed immediately. It takes time. The April 26 opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, is perhaps one such catalyst for the effacement of the visitor with respect to the racial terror that led to the loss of thousands of lives through lynching. Lynching victims who were burned alive, hanged, shot—murdered—in and along the towns and byways of our nation from 1877 until 1950, are documented in this memorial initiated by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Such violence continues today in the form of excessive imprisonment; by the murders of black women and men by the police; by the enforcement of state-sanctioned economic violence. By crafting spaces in which the subtractive is both a tool and a frame, the design of this memorial signals the recuperative agency of building as a means to affect the erasable and irascible conditions that established and purvey hatred, fear, and ignorance in this country. Here, looking away is not conscionable, as it moves against the habitus of memory, where our own individual pasts intersect with the Past. That the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum are realized in this, the 50th anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, is indeed an extraordinary feat indebted to the efforts of many individuals that came before. However, I would be remiss in not reminding readers that in recent reportage, including The New York Times and Rolling Stone, there is scant mention of the architects. During the spectacle of the opening ceremony, EJI’s Executive Director, Bryan Stevenson, acknowledged builders, contractors, laborers, and “local” architects—but did not name the project architects, MASS Design Group. Only on the EJI website can we find mention that the Initiative had the “assistance” of MASS Design Group. It feels purposeful, and we are thus left to speculate. I am left wondering: Are architects supposed to fade away in the fashioning of a memorial? I can think of recent examples for which this is clearly not the case. What has been wrought in other locations, including Washington, D.C., Berlin, Johannesburg, New York City, and Birmingham, all speak through their authors. And, in varying degrees, formal aspects of each of these memorial spaces are present now in Montgomery. Memorials render ghosts. And Boston-based MASS Design’s work with the EJI on the design and building of this structure is no less haunted by the iniquities of American history. With distant views of limpid hills and a semiformal state capitol town center with its empty shops, deserted lots, 59 Confederate markers, and recent loft conversions, the Memorial for Peace and Justice is adjacent, without irony, to the storefront of the State of Alabama Office of Pardons and Paroles Day Reporting Center. From the street below, the memorial structure is partially indiscernible due to its horizontal profile cutting across the sightline, but it may also be read as an empty pedestal through and on which the lives of so many passed, passed away, disappeared. One climbs farther up the hill alongside a boundary wall upon which a series of chronological narratives is posted to convey the story of “Why here?” and “Why now?” The manifestations of slavery, of incipient racism that persist today, are described as a backdrop to an unfolding of both landscape and architecture as marked sites for unceasing brutality. We are soon confronted by a bronze sculpture of humans in chains by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo. The signs begin too high to be read easily and meet our eyes as we climb the hill. A sharp corner, and one rises again to the structure while unfortunately overlooking the conclusion of the memorial space one floor below. There is no fixed entrance, per se, except a momentary pause with a large fire extinguisher. Stepping onto a timber floor, one is immediately surrounded by a dense array of body-size steel casks hung from pipes that disappear into a paneled metal ceiling. One moves cautiously through a grid of “bleeding” Corten steel containers, each incised with the name of the county and names accompanied by dates, including those unknown, of the lynched. The floor gradually descends as the casks remain above our heads; their intact volumes remain whole. By moving downward, one returns into the ground. The horizon has been excised. Gravity is idle. A series of narratives printed on thin metal strips is hung in a similar manner to the initial chronologies, describing in the briefest of ways the events of individual lynchings. The blunt quotidian language, their facticity, arrests our movements. At the next corner, one is presented with two very large indictments. A cascade of water pushes across the adjacent wall, merging with, not obscuring, an extended text. The temperature changes. Two choices are apparent: Climb a ramp or stair into the center of the quadrangle or leave. The empty center, while perhaps disguised as a space of confrontation, is more like a cloister in which condemnation is subdued, internalized; here it is possible to see across through the casks while observing others. It is not a sanctum. Greeting one’s unceremonial departure from the memorial upon moving outside, another sliver of text is located across from the pipes and pumps of the interior waterfall. This is not as much a “door of no return,” as merely a way out. This non-exit merges with an unmarked landscape of horizontal metal casks, akin to those held inside the structure—a topology of loss. Despite being worrisome for those who might wish to touch one of the steel containers after a hot day, one walks between their seemingly geographic order(s) locating states and counties, and names. Farther on, a series of bronzes by Dana King, depicting Rosa Parks and her heroic companions leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott, intersects the path. A small circular garden of mushroom-like concrete stools is sited nearby and is unlike anything seen elsewhere, with no explanation as to its role. One moves across on pathways above, around, and below another bronze, this one by Hank Willis Thomas, spelling bodies of containment, of stability falling away. With the building of such thresholds for historical reckoning, the arc of our knowing also asserts unknowing; absence lingers. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum attest to our own entanglements with reconciliation and truth. Memorials, like museums, are structures that attempt to keep us in their grasp as long as possible, allowing for the disclosure of our interior selves with multiple worlds. Such “new worlds” are partially uncovered at the intersection of reflection and remembrance, yet allow for and point to the rupture of what our passages have been and continue to be.

Salesforce Tower’s massive light show to permanently illuminate San Francisco’s skyline

Salesforce Tower’s nine-story steel topper is set to light up San Francisco permanently starting tomorrow night, as video artist Jim Campbell’s enormous animations will start broadcasting from the top. The tower’s 130-foot-tall, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects-designed crown is hollow and has been clad in perforated aluminum panels–ostensibly to lessen the bullet-shaped building’s impact on the skyline. Using imagery from cameras scattered around the city (and 11,000 LEDs inside of the crown), Campbell will translate traffic, the sky, and each night’s sunsets into a public art piece visible for 20 miles in every direction. The fleeting, ephemeral images are an ode to the city’s vibrancy and energy. During a test run last Wednesday, giant ballerinas could be seen dancing across a beige background over 1,000 feet in the air. The tower’s signature piece, Day for Night, will start by showing the colors of that night’s sunset, followed by constellations against the night sky until the sun rises again. While the top nine floors of the Salesforce Tower are unoccupied and were used to push the building into “tallest in San Francisco” territory, only the upper six floors will be used to stage Campbell’s installation. The remaining three will hold the required equipment and will be bathed in a strong light to form a base for the animation above. While the punctured panels could theoretically show any images, Campbell swears that his work won’t be used for advertisements or to mark holidays. As for the electricity use? It’s the same as “five toaster ovens,” Campbell told the San Francisco Chronicle. The developers, designers, and engineers behind Salesforce Tower will be presenting on their work at the next Facades+ conference in San Francisco, taking place on June 7.

An interactive fountain driven by train traffic is coming to Philadelphia’s Center City

Pulse, a snaking public art piece linked to the Dilworth Park fountain in Philadelphia, will soon be showing commuters what’s going on underneath their feet. The fountain sits in front of Philadelphia City Hall in Center City, and sculptor Janet Echelman will soon be realizing a light-and-mist installation that will track underground SEPTA trains in real time, thanks to a $325,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation. The project was originally commissioned in 2009 by the Center City District Foundation (CCD), and major pieces of its foundations were embedded in the surrounding plaza when the park’s fountain was built in 2014. Pulse, described as “a living X-ray of the city's circulatory system” by the artist, would create four-foot-tall walls of colored mist that track the trains passing below, specifically, the green, orange, and blue lines. Separate tracks of light embedded in the concrete would project into an atomized mist to create the kinetic effect. Echelman worked closely with the park’s architects, OLIN, to integrate Pulse’s infrastructure into the plaza redesign.' The $325,000 grant that the CCD announced last Monday will cover the construction of Pulse’s green section, which would follow SEPTA’s underground green line trolley. The installation of that phase will come to life this July, though the CCD is still seeking funding for the remaining orange and blue line tracks. The project was conceived as a tribute to Philadelphia’s first water pumping station, and Echelman was brought on board to design the piece back in 2010. However, the CCD has been trying to drum up the $4 million required to complete and maintain Pulse ever since it was announced (though a $20,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant awarded last year helped to get the ball rolling).

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s mile-long opera is coming to the High Line this fall

One thousand opera singers will grace Manhattan's High Line from October 3 through 7, staging a massive public performance for five consecutive nights. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, produced by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), the High Line, and production company The OFFICE performing arts + film, will present a thousand sung stories about what 7:00 PM means to New York residents. The Mile-Long Opera has a star-studded production team: The show is a joint venture between DS+R and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang,  who will be setting the stories to music. Poets Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine will be writing the stories, based on interviews, about the liminal period between day and night. DS+R partner Elizabeth Diller will be staging the show, with the help of co-director Lynsey Peisinger, along the entire length of the High Line. Nonprofit cultural partners from each borough will be supplying the show’s singers, who will be directed by Donald Nally, and each partner will recruit volunteers, hold workshops, and throw cultural events in the lead-up to the October performance. Diller’s involvement has been known for some time now, and the idea supposedly took inspiration from the intersection and confrontation between public space and performance art. “After working on the design of the High Line for over a decade and witnessing the rapid transformation of the surrounding area, I thought a lot about the life cycle of the city—its decay and rebirth—full of opportunities and contradictions,” said Diller in a statement. “This vantage presented an opportunity for creative reflection about the speed of change of the contemporary city and the stories of its inhabitants. “The park will be a 30-block-long urban stage for an immersive performance in which the audience will be mobile, the performers will be distributed, and the city will be both protagonist and backdrop for a collective experience celebrating our diversity.” The Mile-Long Opera will be free, in keeping with the mission to open up opera to the public. Visitors can freely wander the length of the High Line while intermingling between the groups of singers, and each artist will belt out their own solo story. Guests can choose to linger and listen through to individual stories or explore as many experiences as they want. The High Line will close early to the general public on the nights of the show, and only those who have booked an advance reservation online (here) will be able to attend. With anticipation building for the 2019 opening of The Shed on the park’s northern end, it looks like DS+R will keep the cultural momentum going through the fall.