The City of San Jose Public Art Program and the CADRE Laboratory for New Media host the second day of symposium. This day will focus on the role public art and artists can play in environmental activism, informed by urban planning, sustainable design issues and public policy.
The morning session will feature presentations by three teams selected to develop designs for the Climate Clock, a landmark public art project that incorporates Silicon Valley’s measurement, data management, and communications technologies to help people understand climate change while encouraging them to continue reducing their
Afternoon sessions will investigate how issues of public policy, urban planning, sustainable design, and civic cultural/economic development strategies can serve as a platform for public art and how public art can stimulate community dialogue about these issues of critical importance.
9:00-9:30 Introduction to Climate Clock Initiative by Barbara Goldstein, Public Art Director
9:30-11:00 Presentations by Climate Clock Artist Teams
11:10-11:55 Climate Clock Panel. Moderator: ZER01 Executive Director Joel Slayton
1:10-1:40 Andrea Polli, Artist and Tim Dye, Senior Vice President and Division Manager for Meteorological Programs and Public Outreach at Sonoma Technology, Inc. “Particle Falls”
1:40-2:10 Robin Lasser, artist, Marguerite Perret, artist: “Floating World”
2:10-3:00 Jade Chang, Los Angeles-based writer, “From Gas Bills to a New Game Theory: Can Having Fun- Doing Good?”
3:10-4:10 Buster Simpson, Keynote, artist, “Poetic Utility”
4:10-4:30Wrap up by Joel Slayton and Barbara Goldstein
4:30 End Program
6:00 AbsoluteZER0: South First Street
Morning Session The Climate Clock will be realized as a site-specific iconic installation to be integrated
into the expansion of the San José Diridon Station area designated as the California High-Speed Rail Hub. An overview of the Climate Clock Initiative will be presented and complemented by artist team presentations of their design strategies prior to the beginning of their residencies at San Jose State University and Montalvo Art Center in fall 2010.
Freya Bardell is an ecological designer and artist based in Los Angeles, California. She works with Greenmeme and is a design consultant for Rana Creek, which are innovative, environmentally oriented companies based in California. Her work is part of a growing movement known as Sustainable design that seeks to integrate new technologies and ecological systems to design, architecture and landscaping environments. Bardell has also worked as designer for Osborn Architects, Glendale, CA; a 3-D artist for Mind Browser Productions, Los Angeles; an artist and interactive consultant for Urbana, Los Angeles; and as a superintendent for Hulette Construction.
Brent Bucknam lives and works in former wetlands of West Oakland, California, where he founded the Hyphae Design Laboratory; an ecological design and civil engineering firm dedicated to bridging the gap between architecture, environmental art and applied biological research. They are currently doing a diversity of projects from affordable housing water studies, to living roof design, greywater system design, environmental sensor based public art installations, rural sanitation in developing countries, and ultra-green data centers. Brent also regularly collaborates with greenmeme, an art collective in Los Angeles, and is founder and director of the Urban Biofilter, a local environmental justice non-profit, dedicated to urban forestry and green infrastructure.
Robert Davis is a systems developer in the Psychology Department of Goldsmiths College, University of London, who is particularly interested in systems that are contingent upon the environment and the entities that inhabit it, as well as the adaption within such systems. His particular interests include analog neural networks and chemical systems.
Usman Haque is an architect who has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and mass-participation performances. His skills include the design of both physical spaces, and the software and systems that bring them to life. Together they have worked on a number of previous projects including Haunt and Evolving Sonic Environment. The Haunt project was an attempt to simulate a haunted space, using infrasound and electromagnetic field patterns derived from previously recorded ‘haunted’ spaces. Evolving Sonic Environment was an architectural experiment to construct an interactive environment that builds up an internal representation of its occupants through a network of autonomous but communicative sensors.
Chico MacMurtrie works using sculpture to animate space and stimulate public dialogue. Together with his collaborative studio of artists, technicians, and programmers’ known as Amorphic Robot Works he has exhibited work in 15 different countries since 1992. Many of these projects have poetically raised questions about birth, death, renewal, mechanical vs. organic life, and the resilience of nature within the urban habitat. Recent projects include two sculptural metal trees that explore different aspects of humans’ relationship with nature: Growing, Raining Tree, a $100,000 commission from the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, responds to the presence of viewers by moving and dripping water from the tips of its branches. Floating Tree for Anable Basin, installed upon a sculptural island planted with native estuary grasses, encapsulates the historical interplay between industrial and ecological activity on the New York City waterfront. It is designed to focus attention on the balance of nature in the city. MacMurtrie’s imaginative use of robotic technology is exemplified in the Totemobile (2006), a sculpture of a Citroen DS that expands twice each day into a 60-foot-tall elongated sculpture, creating a serenely monumental spectacle.
Geo Homsy brings 25 years of professional, academic, and artistic experience in electrical engineering and computer science to the Organograph design team. A collaborator with Amorphic Robot Works since 1991, Homsy has served as software choreographer and chief technical consultant on numerous projects involving pneumatics, hydraulics, electronics, and real-time control and performance software. His innovative, technically intricate work was exemplified in the sculpture Growing, Raining Tree. His art-related experience also includes creating and directing the Large Hot Pipe Organ, a pyro-acoustic musical instrument that has performed in six countries. Homsy has served as artistic director of SlackerTronics Systems in the Netherlands, and contributed to several projects with San Francisco-based Survival Research Laboratories. Homsy’s professional engineering career includes pioneering work in Europe and the US for the laboratories of Quicklogic, Woodward Design Associates, Electude, Addison Wesley Longman, and University of California. He is a founding partner of the information architecture firm Permabit, and a partner in the multi-disciplinary design firm Squid Labs. Homsy will be the lead digital design engineer for this proposal.
Trained as an aerospace engineer and mechanic, Bill Washabaugh has applied his technical expertise and creative vision to numerous fields of design. He joined Amorphic Robot Works in 2006 as Lead Engineer for the studio’s landmark Totemobile project, a robotic sculpture that transforms from a 1965 Citroen DS automobile into a 60-foot-tall moving sculpture. Directing a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, artists, and fabricators, he managed the design/build timeline, CAD modeling, machine design and analysis. Washabaugh has worked as Senior Mechanical Engineer for New York-based Arnell Group, and as a Senior Design Engineer for Genie Industries and Chef’n Corporation in Seattle, where his ZipFlips product was awarded the RedDot Design Award in 2007. His design and engineering experience also includes consumer product design, furniture design, interactive electro-mechanical systems, and kinetic architecture. Washbaugh will be the lead mechanical engieneer for this proposal.
Interested in the role of public art and architecture in shaping or reflecting society, Gideon Shapiro has collaborated with Amorphic Robot Works since 2005. He recruited the interdisciplinary team of artists and ecologists who created ARW’s winning proposal for the Long Island City Grounded competition, culminating in the installation of Floating Tree for Anable Basin. This project explored the possibility of a revived natural urban habitat for both birds and humans, the industrial history of the New York City waterfront, and the transformative effects of rapid high-rise residential development. Shapiro managed the project’s implementation and coordinated an extensive public outreach effort in collaboration with community partners such as Place in History, the New York Audubon Society, Plant Specialists, and the Long Island City Community Boathouse, highlighting the sculpture as a catalyst for discussion about nature in the urban context. He has also worked with ARW on several other sculpture commissions and competitions, including the Inflatable Birds and the Flight 587 Memorial Competition. An architectural writer, researcher, and designer, Shapiro works for the Manhattan-based architectural firm of Gabellini Sheppard Associates. He will be the researcher/designer for this proposal.
Buster Simpson, Artist; Keynote Speaker, Poetic Utility. Historically, artists involved in the western art movements of Constructivism, the Weimar Period, the Bauhaus, and to some extent the WPA were interested in participating in the public realm. This included commodities for the masses as well as combining design with public utility. Along the way we learned to refine, to clarify, we discovered that less is more, silence can be music, that ‘there’ needs to be there, and that art is foremost a gift, not a commodity.
Artists are communicators, facilitators, problem solvers and inventors. We also hold the option of deploying the “trickster” card. Artists and those in the technological community share an approach to invention – an interest in the process and materials, a willingness to experiment and take creative risks and passion for adventure. Artists may well be suited to engage in discussions and solutions regarding environmental issues, which compliment a holistic effort inclusive of the arts.
Simpson has been active as an artist working in the public since the 1970s. His work ranges from stand alone sculpture to integrated and/or collaborative works. All of his work incorporates ecological, historical, social, and aesthetic considerations, contextualizing them into the site specific values of place. His art, its medium and product will vary, but the methodology and underpinning conceptual approach are consistent. All aspects of the public realm become part of the his palette; the landscape, the built environment, and the social and economic engagement. Simpson has stated, “I prefer working in public spaces. The complexity of any site is its asset; to build upon, to distill, to reveal its layers of meaning. Process becomes part and parcel to the art of the place.” He prefers to be brought in early on a project in order to realize the full potential of a collaboration with that site.
San Fernando Corridor Projects
During the summer and fall of 2010, The City of San Jose Public Art Program is presenting Art on San Fernando: Re-visioning the Corridor, a series temporary public art projects along the San Fernando corridor from Diridon Station to Market Street. Two of these projects environmental issues.
Artist Andrea Polli and meteorologist Tim Dye will discuss Particle Falls and data visualization of air quality issues. At Particle Falls, artists Andrea Polli and Chuck Varga have used a nephelometer to measure particulate matter in the air and translated this information into the image of a “waterfall” that is projected on an eight story building. The data collected at this artwork installation demonstrates air quality in downtown San Jose and is also available on the web.
Artists Robin Lasser and Marguerite Perret created A Floating World, a temporary artwork located on an overpass sandwiched between Highway 87 and the Guadalupe River. The site provided the team with an unsurpassed opportunity investigate the relationship between the built environment and the natural world. A cluster of “FEMA
tents for birds” the installation includes sound and voices that illustrate the impact of our changing environment of indigenous water fowl.
Andrea Polli is a digital media artist living in New Mexico. Her work addresses issues related to science and technology in contemporary society. She is interested in global systems, the real time interconnectivity of these systems, and the effect of these systems on individuals. Polli’s work with science, technology and media has been presented widely in over 100 presentations, exhibitions and performances internationally, has been recognized by numerous grants, residencies and awards including UNESCO. Her work has been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art News, NY Arts and others. She has published two book chapters, several audio CDs, DVDs and many papers in print including MIT Press and Cambridge University Press journals. She currently works in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding storm and climate through sound (called sonification). Recent projects include: a spatialized sonification of highly detailed models of storms that devastated the New York area; a series of sonifications of climate in Central Park; and a real-time multi-channel sonification and visualization of weather in the Arctic. She has exhibited, performed, and lectured nationally and internationally and recently spent seven weeks in Antarctica on a National Science Foundation funded project. http://www.90degreessouth.org. As a member of the steering committee for New York 2050, a wide-reaching project envisioning the future of the New York City region, she worked with city planners, environmental scientists, historians and other experts to look at the impact of climate on the future of human life both locally and globally.
Tim Dye, Senior Vice President and Division Manager for Meteorological Programs and Public Outreach at Sonoma Technology, Inc. Dye joined STI in 1990 and is responsible for strategic planning and management of STI’S forecasting/public outreach, meteorological analysis and radar wind profiler (RWP) business areas. He specializes in developing innovative information systems for air quality applications and public communication. He is an internationally recognized leader in the development of air quality information and forecasting systems. Mr. Dye has led the development of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) AIRNow program since 2002; was lead author of the EPA guidance document for setting up ozone and PM2.5 forecasting programs; led the development of the World Meteorological Program’s course on air quality forecasting’ and developed a wide range of objective forecasting tools to predict air quality.
Robin Lasser is a Professor of Art at San Jose State University. Lasser produces photographs, video, sound, site-specific installations and public art dealing with social and environmental issues. Lasser often works in a collaborative mode with other artists, writers, students, public agencies, community organizations, and international coalitions (exemplified by her work in Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar) to produce art and promote public dialogue. Lasser’s work is published and exhibited internationally. Current projects include “Dress Tents: Nomadic Wearable Architecture” a fusion of architecture, the body and the land played out through living sculpture, moving images and still photography with Adrienne Pao.
Marguerite Perret is a mixed media installation artist who explores connections between art, science, medicine, and cultural history She is an associate professor of art and design at Washburn University, Topeka KS where she teaches digital imaging, foundations design and courses in art and ecology, and science and art. Current projects include “The Waiting Room” (with Robin Lasser, Stephanie Lanter and Bruce Scherting) a multi-media installation exploring issues on women’s health care, Collect(ive) a public art project about material culture at Grinnell College and The Simulated Garden which documents rare and recently extinct species that exist only or primarily as specimens in US and UK museums.
Jade Chang, Los Angeles-based writer. From Gas Bills to a New Game Theory: Can Having Fun- Doing Good? Why are behavioral scientists playing FarmVille? Why did the American Health Association partner with Nintendo? A look at how the gaming world’s potent combination of interaction and storytelling is beginning to be leveraged for social good.
Chang is the West Coast Editor of Metropolis Magazine, she has also been a film columnist for the BBC and a Sundance Arts Writing Fellow; in 2007 she received the AIGA/Winterhouse Design Criticism award. As a journalist Jade has covered everything from deconstructed tomato soup to the hidden rebellion of minimalls for the LA Times, LA Weekly, Angeleno and others. She is currently the Executive Producer of Modern Luxury Media online and a Contributing Editor at Metropolis.
Barbara Goldstein is the Public Art Director for the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs and the editor of Public Art by the Book, a primer recently published by Americans for the Arts and the University of Washington Press. Prior to her work in San José, Goldstein was Public Art Director for the City of Seattle. Goldstein has worked as a cultural planner, architectural and art critic, editor and publisher. From 1989 to 1993, she was Director of Design Review and Cultural Planning for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. From 1980-85 she edited and published Arts + Architecture magazine. She has written for art and architectural magazines both nationally and internationally, and has lectured on public art throughout the United States, and in Canada, Japan, China and Taipei.
Special Thanks to Symposium Organizers
Danielle Siembieda is the Social Media Manager and is the producer of the monthly ZSALONS at ZERO1 Art and Technology Network. She is also the Program Manager for the residencies of the San Jose Climate Clock Initiative. Siembieda has a MFA in Digital Media Art at SJSU in the School of Art and Design as part of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media with a focus on green technologies, sustainable materials and art. Along with her education she is also a practicing artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Siembieda recently ended her third term as Managing Editor of one of the pioneering online academic new media journals, SWITCH.