Christian Petersen Art Museum, Ames, IA
19th Street BART Station, Oakland, CA
Inspiration for Shifting Topographies began with the shifting patterns and colors of the rolling Oakland hills (green to gold) and at the macro scale the ripples of the adjacent San Francisco Bay (gray-blue-green). Other inspirations came from the flashy paint jobs in the car culture of this community and the signature Blue BART station for which the art marked the entrance.
The sculpture is fabricated from a high-density foam covered with a polyuria “hard coat” most often applied as “truck bed liners”. This super robust material is then painted with multiple layers of color shifting paint that dramatically changes color depending on sun angle and time of day.
At one end of the station, laminated safety glass with blue and mirrored ribbons of topography disguise the emergency ventilation shafts- providing a sense of movement and visual expansion in a compressed space. The mirrored topography also provides a site context and juxtaposition of the urban Cartesian grid playing against the natural land forms.
At night the sculpture conjures the drama of the adjacent theaters, nightclubs and galleries- providing movement, color, pattern and excitement to this previously under-used alley entrance. The patterning of the projections includes interference patterns created by dueling topographic lines, atmospheric nebulae-like patterning and swirling water-influenced movement.
Special thanks to all of our great project partners:
City of Oakland, Cultural Arts & Marketing Commissioning Agency
BART: Bay Area Rapid Transit (entrance to the 19th Street Oakland Station)
Sasaki Associates landscape architects and design team partners
Heavy Industries fabricator
Atthowe Fine Art Services installation
Swenson Say Faget engineering
Visual Terrain lighting consultant
Jason Gedrose/ MVStaging programming
Greg Linhares additional photography
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
The name of the pieces are “Nepenthes.” The name is derived from a Greek magical potion that would cause the drinker to be relieved from or induce forgetfulness of pain, grief, or sorrow. I hope these sculptures might provide a brief respite from a hectic daily life, transporting us briefly somewhere else. Paisleyi is the botanic latin version of Paisley, named after the founder of the Edmonton Fringe Festival- and name of the community wherein the sculptures are located.
Nepenthes is also the name of a family of carnivorous plants. Beautiful, quirky, unusual, weird. The fascinating tropical pitcher plants, or “monkey cups,” collect water in their leaf vases. The plant water has an enzyme in it that helps dissolve insects (and sometimes small animals) that find their way into the cups, providing fertilizer for the plants that normally live in infertile locations. The shapes of the sculptures are inspired by the shape of a variety of Nepenthes and celebrates the wonderful diversity of Paisley’s colourful neighborhood.
Monochromatic by daytime, this family of sculptures take on a completely different character at night with the addition of dynamic LED programming.
There are a number of randomly occurring lighting programs that provide very slow changes throughout the evening. It is designed so that people driving by will not see the changes in patterns, yet if they drive by 10 minutes later they will see a different aspect to the project. When people enter the sculpture, integrated sensors pick up the motion and trigger a series of much more animated sequences.
The molds for these sculptures were originally developed for the Nepenthes Davis Street Project for TRIMET/City of Portland, Oregon. The Regional Arts and Culture Council has kindly provided permission for a re-envisioning of the original project for the Brookfield Residential neighborhood of Paisley in Edmonton. You can see the original project here: Nepenthes
Special thanks to all of our great project partners:
Brookfield Residential, Edmonton (funder and site work)
Heavy Industries (fabrication)
PMCS (LED engineering, and programming)
video of some of the dynamic LED sequences
MLK Hospital, Los Angeles CA
Seattle Center, Seattle WA
The name of the pieces are “Nepenthes.” The name is derived from a Greek magical potion that would cause the drinker to be relieved from or induce forgetfulness of pain, grief, or sorrow. I hope these sculptures might provide a brief respite from a hectic daily life, transporting us briefly somewhere else.
Each sculpture contains solar cells and batteries that take in energy in the daytime and allow them to glow after dark. The time on changes with the season….about an hour after sundown. They stay on for 4 hours after they turn on.
The project was funded by TRIMET and was administrated by the Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland (RACC). The project began with construction funds that were originally allocated towards stamped concrete in the center of 4 blocks. The community requested the funds be used for “Markers” to connect China Town to the Park Blocks (and possibly the Pearl District) along Davis Street- highlighting the street as a vibrant walking corridor and connector. The “Markers” project took a few twists and turns and ultimately became these glowing sculptures.
Rivers Edge Park, Council Bluffs Iowa
Originally inspired by the great European baroque knot gardens, this massive 5-acre Great Lawn is the canvas for a giant ever-changing light environment that echoes patterns of the past and updates them for the future. Utilizing powerful dynamic and robotic lighting fixtures, the lawn is activated every half hour after dark.
Within each sequence, there is a “show” mode and an “interactive” mode. Please see below for more details.
In addition to the choreographed sequences, there is a complex interactive lighting component to the project that will track and “play” with people through a series of simple intuitive games as part of every “event”. Tracked by infra-red cameras and radar detectors, the locations and gestures of the people on the lawn in front of the stadium seating will control the lighting in some instances, and in others it will track them similar to follow spots at an ice skating event.
1. SENSING: When the general illumination park lights are on, radar detectors sense motion in the corners of the park and direct the robotic fixtures into those areas projecting individually selected spinning patterns.
2. GAMES: The field covered by a chasing rainbow of colors indicates it is time for the beginning of the interactive game section. Each half hour “show” has 2 randomly selected games that play for 3 or 6 minutes.
Each half hour event plays 2 randomly selected games:
The games are:
a. Stealing Dorothy Hamill’s Spotlight: 4 robotic lights randomly select one person to follow in on the field. The game is to figure out how to trick the robot and steal the spotlight from the person selected.
b. Hot-Cold: a blue spotlight is turned on in the field. As people move towards the spotlight the closest person to the spotlight is tracked and their position changes the color of the spotlight- changing the color from blue through all the different colors until it turns red when you jump onto the spotlight. Once you are on it, the “prize” is flashing the entire lawn through a series of colors before throwing the spotlight into another random location and starting again.
c. Cat Laser Pointer: a small green spot intelligently dances and doges the people who attempt to catch it.
d. Yellow Spot Blue Spot: out of all the people on the lawn, the computer selects random 2 people giving each a different colored spotlight. Can you trick the computer into switching followspot colors as it follows you around the field?
Easter Eggs: the name originates from secret animations and videos incorporated into software that are only revealed if you know the secret keystrokes. Our “Easter Eggs” are a series of gestures that will set off some brief visual “prizes” during the interactive game sequence times for “people in the know”.
a. Jump: if more than 55% of the people on the active lawn area jump up and down together then it will cause all the lights in the field to blink on and off like people jumping.
b. Flash Mob: if more than 55% of the people on the active lawn run in and huddle then break out- it will cause all the lights on the lawn to “go crazy” and swirl around for a few seconds.
c. Run for the River: if there more than 55% of the people on the active lawn begin at the curving sidewalk and at one time run towards the river, the whole lawn will ripple in colors of blue, white and teal.
Special thanks to our great project team:
Lisa Passamonte Green, Mike Mahlum Visual Terrain
Chris Barbee, John Jenkinson Bandit Lites
David Beaudry Beaudry Interactive
Brad Haynes (programming)
Greg Jones Martin Entertainment
Gina Ford, Susannah Ross Sasaki Landscape Architecture
Brian Yessian Yessian (music for opening event and video)
Rich Sorich Iowa West Foundation (commissioning agency)
Larry Foster (City of Council Bluffs)