The Leonardo, Utah’s science-tech-art center, has selected an artistic collaborative to create a major public art installation in the building, which will open to the public April 15, 2011.
Brian Brush and Yong Ju Lee, both of New York City, will create an installation, called the “Dynamic Performance of Nature,” that will be both an artistic and architectural feature on The Leonardo’s main floor.
The installation will be constructed of custom-milled, recycled-plastic panels arranged in a wave pattern, such as that of light or sound. Fiberoptic cables hang between the panels and are attached to solar-powered LED lighting array, which changes color, intensity, and flashing duration based on a connection to environmental sensors that measure data from activities like wind, seismic or solar activity, precipitation, and visitor movements.
In addition to the sustainable features of the installation — recycled plastic panels, long-lasting LED arrays, low energy-use computers — Brush and Lee’s proposal stood out to the jury for its embodiment of The Leonardo’s emphasis on making, creativity and connectivity. The sensor data streaming into The Leonardo from all over the world serves as a metaphor for The Leonardo’s role in the community: bringing together disparate populations and visitor groups for common experiences fusing science, technology and art.
“The Leonardo itself inspired us for this piece,” Brush and Lee said. “With such a clear and innovative approach that captures the energy at the nexus of art, science and technology in order to inspire creativity, we were compelled to craft something that functioned the same way to embody that spirit.
“We hope visitors will appreciate this work as a piece that goes beyond application or demonstration of technology as art. We hope they will understand that neither technology nor art were the ends or the means, but that what we made truly synthesizes information, technology, material, and space to produce a beautiful and connective experience for people.”
Brush and Lee formed the collaboration, SoftRigid (http://softrigid.com), while studying at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Their interests include digital fabrication and art/architecture installations that envision spaces created at the cutting edge of technology. Brush, a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar, earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design at Montana State University, and Lee earned his undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. While in graduate school at Columbia, the two won awards at the 2009 Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Italy, for their project SoftShelf, a customizable shelving system that defies the constraints of traditional cellular shelf units. Other recent accomplishments include a jury selection in the 4th Biennial Emerging New York Architects Competition in collaboration with Kyung Jae Kim and an honor award at the 2009 Seoul Design Olympiad for their project Phytobench, a phyto-remediative public infrastructure system for repairing urban brownfields.
More than 75 artists submitted proposals for The Leonardo’s RFQ, which was issued in December 2009. The seven-member jury, composed of representatives from Salt Lake City, the regional arts community and The Leonardo, selected Brush and Lee from a narrowed field of four finalists. Brush and Lee’s proposal can be found at www.theleonardo.org
Opening April 2011 in the heart of Utah’s capital city, The Leonardo is a science, technology and art center fostering creativity and innovation in young people and adults of all backgrounds. The Leonardo’s on-wheels and community outreach programs already impact thousands of students, teachers and adults each year. When the center opens its downtown location next April, The Leonardo will feature experiences like BODY WORLDS and Sebastião Salgado’s Exodus, as well as original multidisciplinary exhibits, multimedia installations, hands-on activities and workshops, classes and special events.
For more information, contact Lisa Davis at email@example.com or (801) 230-9399.