A massive public art installation will illuminate the night skies over Philadelphia for the next three weeks. Open Air, conceptualized by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, will utilize GPS technology and sound recordings to create an interactive form of expression. For the duration of the installation each night, 24 searchlights situated strategically along the Ben Franklin Parkway will respond to the volume and frequency of sounds recorded by members of the crowd, as well as online participants. Depending on GPS Location, intonation, volume, and frequency the lights will react and create unique light formations in the sky.
Open Air will also feature pre-recorded messages from Philadelphians like filmmaker David Lynch and recording artist Santigold. Further sounds will consist of birdsong, in recognition of the yearly migrations that pass through the region. The lights will be turned off at for periods each night to allow birds to find their way out of the beams.
The concept for the piece was inspired by the legacy of free speech and democracy ensconced in Philadelphia’s history. Says artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; “We wanted to take that background and implement technology to visualize it…We wanted to take free speech and make it materially visible in the city.”
The Association for Public Art’s Vimeo
Open Air runs September 20- Oct 14 from 8-11pm. The installation will consume only as much energy as a football game in a professional stadium and will be 50% fueled by bio diesel. On clear nights the ligth will be visible from 10 miles away. In Philly, head down to the Art Museum or the Parkway to see it live, or contribute your voice from anywhere.