FUTURE CITIES LAB WINS NATIONAL PUBLIC ARTS AWARD
San Francisco’s Murmur Wall Wins Best Public Art Award
BOSTON, MA, July 22, 2016—Murmur Wall, an innovative public sculpture by Future Cities Lab, was honored as one of the top public art projects of the past year by the Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The organization honored 38 outstanding public arts projects created in 2015 chosen from 260 entries across the country. The selection committee commended the artwork for the inventive ways it engages its urban site through dynamic place-making and its innovative integration of technology.
Murmur Wall is a sixty-foot long multi-media artwork located at the entry plaza to the Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco, California. The data-driven outdoor public installation, commissioned by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) with support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The Burkhart Foundation, draws in visitors from bustling Mission Street with its dynamic shape and ever-changing illumination. By harvesting local online activity—via search engines and social media—Murmur Wall transforms data into real-time streams of light and text. Murmur Wall straddles the line between digital art and architecture by harvesting what the neighborhood is searching for to activate public spaces around the artwork. Designed and constructed using cutting-edge software and experimental digital fabrication techniques, the artwork is also partially constructed using large, custom 3d printed elements.
Jason Kelly Johnson, co-founder of Future Cities Lab commented: “It is exciting for us to have Murmur Wall installed in the heart of San Francisco. We visit the site regularly to study people’s reactions and to observe how it is being used throughout the day and night. The project is really just an experiment.” Johnson’s partner and co-founder Nataly Gattegno commented: “We are fortunate to have the support of institutions like the YBCA with the vision to commission work by emerging designers.”
Murmur Wall is the second project by Future Cities Lab to be constructed in the vicinity of the Yerba Buena Gardens. An adjacent large-scale public artwork called Lightswarm is suspended just inside the facade of the YBCA. The artwork translates sounds from inside and outside the arts center into animated auroras of light, day and night.
“These Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate that public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. Whether subtly beautiful or vibrantly jolting, a public artwork has the singular ability to make citizens going about everyday business stop, think, and through the power of art appreciate a moment, no matter how brief,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures.”
The Public Art Network (PAN), a program of the nonprofit Americans for the Arts, is designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. The network’s constituents are public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals, and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs. @Americans4Arts
Future Cities Lab is an experimental art and design studio, workshop and urban think tank operating globally out of San Francisco, California. Since 2005, founding principals Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno have collaborated on a range of award-winning projects exploring the intersections of art and design with advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems and public space. Johnson and Gattegno are Associate Professors at the CCA in San Francisco. @futurecitieslab #murmurwall