Open Air, 2012
Relational Architecture 19
24 robotic searchlights, custom software, GPS
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, September 20 – October 14, 2012
Commissioned by the Association for Public Art; Philadelphia, PA
The project combines public art with mobile technology to create a spectacular participatory experience that will illuminate the night sky from Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Created specifically for Philadelphia, the project is designed for personal contribution. Using a free mobile app developed by Lozano-Hemmer’s studio, participants’ voices and GPS positions will control 24 powerful robotic searchlights placed along a half-mile section of the Parkway – creating giant three-dimensional “light sculptures.” A computer program will automatically analyze Open Air app users’ GPS positions and voices for frequency, intonation, and volume and will convert these characteristics into searchlight formations in the sky over the Parkway. The lights will react, both in brightness and position, to each participant’s voice and words as they are being spoken. Forming a canopy of light over the city, the project will be seen up to 10 miles away from the Parkway. Tens of thousands of individuals will be able to participate during the project’s duration, and hundreds of thousands more will experience the project as viewers. The app will be available soon in iTunes.
The artwork will be located between 21st and 24th Streets on the Parkway and will include a Project Information Center at Eakins Oval (24th Street and the Parkway, across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and an Information Outpost located at Sister Cities Park (18th Street and Logan Square). Both locations will broadcast the voices of participants, and have seating areas for watching the lights. Information Center hours: 7:30pm-11:00pm. Eakins Oval Center will also have smartphones available for loan.
Open Air is part of both the 2012 Philadelphia Live Arts & Philly Fringe Festival and the 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival.