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New Directions in Public Art, Part 2

In this series we are exploring various new directions in public art that aren’t often explored by our industry.

Art for the Urban Edge

The archaeological record is filled with sculptural structures built for astronomical observation and ceremony– and many of those structures of connection and celebration date back at least as far as structures of fortification or storage.

We’ve been working on a series of beautiful sculptures designed for managed outdoor spaces some distance from cities. These sculptures are designed to be the sites of weddings, festivals, stargazing parties, unique musical performances, and group retreats. They feature star- and sun-gazing structures inspired by the great observatories of Jantar Mantar, Uraniborg, and Stonehenge.

We’re also designing and prototyping other sculptures that serve as inhabitable musical instruments rooted in Pythagorean tuning and with deep bass that extends to notes so low you have to feel them.

These sculptures are designed to connect people more deeply with each other and with the universe.

A Sculpture that Makes New Sculptures

Another idea we’ve been working on for several years is a sculpture that is simultaneously a permanent artpiece, an ongoing public spectacle, a way to transform the field of monuments in America, and a machine that produces new permanent sculptures. We call this concept I Contain Multitudes and we are looking for other artists with whom to collaborate on a series of permanent limestone monuments for the 21st century. I Contain Multitudes carves a new limestone monument every year, using human and solar power, and simple 19th century pantograph technology. It is designed for installation in urban plazas or parks.

A spectacular aspect of I Contain Multitudes is that the monument it makes each year is revealed slowly. As the limestone is slowly carved away, facial features start to appear, sparking speculation about the gender, race and other attributes of the person depicted. The future reveals itself over time.

NFTs and Public Art

NFT’s offer a way to buy, sell and establish ownership of unique digital files. The digital files most often associated with NFTs are images and animations. But images and animations aren’t the only artistic creations that correspond to unique digital files. We’ve already released NFTs that let you 3D print some of our iconic sculptures. Recently we’ve begun working with CODAMADE and two municipalities that own our artpieces to let collectors and sponsors use NFTs to commission unique new content that will animate these public artworks. Lenses (installed 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ) covers a parking garage and offers a unique way to display iconic paintings by having a virtual rectangle representing the aspect ratio of the artwork move over the painting.

The artpiece currently has 10 iconic images in it (paintings by Miro and Van Gogh, among them) We’re working with Scottsdale arts to feature 2D work by local artists and allow the commissioning and display of new works through the issuance of NFTs.

In Atlanta, we recently installed Bends Toward Justice along historic Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This monumental sculpture is interactive; visitors on both sides of the street control the lighting by pushing the arcs together.

If people work together or demonstrate a high degree of dedication, the sculpture celebrates with unique lighting shows. We have been working with the City of Atlanta to implement an NFT component that will allow collectors to commission unique light shows to align with special events.

This Creative Machines article is the second in a three-part series covering the new directions in public art. Click here to read Part 1 of this series.

In Part 3, we’ll share:

· human powered kinetic sculptures

· 3D printing permanent sculptures - a casting approach

· a sculptural community center

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published on May 24, 2023

© Creative Machines



Our experienced team of artists, architects, project managers, engineers, and fabricators are waiting to hear from you. Whether you have questions, are requesting a quote, or need information about a custom interactive experience, we want to hear from you!


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