Philadelphia’s Interactive Art Exhibits of 2012 and 2013

Inspired by a post from My Modern Metropolis (an incredible blog if you haven’t yet seen it) and a trip to the Park Ave Armory in Manhattan for Ann Hamilton’s the Event of a Thread (see below), I thought I would look back on some of Philly’s interactive art installations of 2012.
1. Longwood Garden’s Light: Installations by Bruce Munro
This installation featured seven trippy large-scale outdoor light installations. My favorite was the Forest of Light featuring 20,000 illuminated stems that looked like blooming flowers amidst a dense forest. The other most striking part of the installation was the Water Towers, a collection of 69 symmetric towers made of two-liter soda bottles. Each bottle contained a fiber optic cable that changed color in relation to music that was being played throughout the installation. I don’t know what Longwood Gardens could do to top that installation.

2. The Association for Public Art commissioned Open Air by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Open Air transformed participants’ voice messages into a visual display using 24 robotic searchlights that reacted, both in brightness and position, to the voice’s frequency and volume. My boyfriend and I sat hypnotized on bleachers along the parkway one night, sharing a pair of headphones to listen to the messages. They ranged from calls for peace and love, to Bill Cosby, to someone yelling “fried chicken!” Every night I could see them from my home in South Philly, as could my parents at their home in Cheltenham

(photo by James Ewing)
3. Data Garden’s The Switched-On Garden
I learned about the Switched-On Garden from an Ignite Philly event. According to Data Garden, the exhibit established a connection with the natural environment through live music, performance and sculpture that blurred the distinction between biological and digital worlds. To me it was making music with apples and old kids’ toys, watching lights flicker across a meadow like fireflies, and listening to the movement of plants as their impulses were translated into musical compositions.
I have to admit that I did not actually see this one, but was tipped off to it by Allison Stadd from Uwishunu. Looking back at photos and blog posts, I am bummed I missed it. It was described as “an interactive public art exhibition featuring eight artist-decorated pianos on sidewalks and in parks and public spaces throughout University City.” The artists included Terry Adkins, Joe Boruchow, Justin Duerr, Katie Holeman and more.
(Photo by Plan Philly)
So what’s in store for 2013?

NET (tentative title): The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will help the Delaware River Waterfont Corporation play host to Numen/For Use‘s first US interactive installation piece. A series of interconnected nets, that people can climb in and out of, will be located on the far edge of the pier so people can suspend themselves on top of the water.

70×7 The Meal: According to Uwishunu, Mural Arts will collaborate with artists Lucy and Jorge Orta to stage the largest version of “70×7 The Meal.” The interactive installation is part of a series of staged meals throughout Europe and the U.S. where guests are served seasonal dishes prepared by local chefs. Mural Arts will be working with the Food Trust and Farm to City to host a 2000-person meal focusing on food equity and sustainability.

I’m sure my list for 2012 or 2013 is far from comprehensive. If you have additions to make, let me know via Twitter, or shoot me an email at phillylovenotes (at) gmail (dot) com.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Uncategorized Leave a comment

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