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Open Air: Richard Sommer & Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in conversation
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
In conjunction with the Association for Public Art and the DesignPhiladelphia Festival, PennDesign is pleased to welcome Richard Sommer, Dean of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, in conversation with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, creator of the interactive public art project Open Air. Ken Lum, Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Fine Arts Program and noted public artist himself, will introduce and Penny Balkin Bach, Artistic and Executive Director of the Association for Public Art will moderate.
The world premiere of Open Air will transform the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, between 21st and 24th Streets, nightly from September 20 - October 14, 2012. The project combines public art with mobile technology to create a spectacular participatory experience that will illuminate the night sky over the Parkway, during the hours of 8pm – 11pm.
September 20 – October 14, 2012
Running nightly from 8:00pm – 11:00pm
Located between 21st and 24th Streets on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Richard Sommer is an architect and the Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, where he also serves as Professor of Architecture and Urbanism. Prior to his appointment at University of Toronto Sommer was, for more than a decade, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he has also served as the Director of School’s Urban Design Programs. Sommer’s design practice, research and writing take the complex physical geography, culture, politics and historiography of the contemporary city as a starting point for a speculative approach to architecture and urbanism.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (b. 1967, Mexico City) is an internationally recognized Mexican-Canadian artist currently living in Montreal. He has produced large-scale interactive art installations across the globe, including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the 2010 Light in Winter Festival in Melbourne, Australia, and the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2009. His work in kinetic sculpture, responsive environments, video installation and photography has been shown in museums and biennials in four-dozen countries. He also represented Mexico in the 2007 Venice Biennale. From September 6 – October 13, 2012, Lozano-Hemmer will have an exhibition of his work, Voice Array, on display at New York City’s bitforms gallery.
Open Air is the world premiere of an interactive public art project commissioned by the Association for Public Art and created by Mexican-Canadian media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The project combines public art with mobile technology to create a spectacular participatory experience that will illuminate the night sky over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Created specifically for Philadelphia, the project is designed for personal contribution. Using a free mobile appdeveloped 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. 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 from up to 10 miles away. Tens of thousands of individuals will be able to participateduring the project’s duration, and hundreds of thousands more will experience the project as viewers. The app will be available soon in iTunes.
PennDesign is an inventive place of learning where the many fields of architecture, planning, preservation, landscape and the fine arts come together on shared ground. At PennDesign, we are dedicated to design that is creative in nature and transformative in impact. In a collaborative environment that fosters inquiry and experimentation, faculty and students seek to recast the distinction between theory and practice, expand knowledge and invention through research, and contribute works of value and beauty.
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