Spotlight On Philadelphia: Open Air Project

Culture

Spotlight On Philadelphia: Open Air Project

Tonight when you return home, whether it’s from Van Pelt or Smokes, look at the sky to see and hear the voices of Philadelphia. From September 20th until October 14th, you will be able to see beams of light dancing to recordings crowd-sourced from Philadelphia residents and enchanting the city sky each evening.

The 24 searchlight beams, installed along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, are part of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Open Air Project. Open Air is a public art display that uses GPS locations of recordings Philadelphians submit, as well as the recordings’ frequency and amplitude to determine the lights’ brightness. The lights create a cat’s cradle in the sky visible from up to 10 miles away. Throughout the night, the streams of light brighten and dim, thicken and narrow, and cross and uncross to correspond with the content of the recordings. While watching the lights, you can hear the matched recordings on the Open Air Philly website, iPhone app, speakers in the Eakins Oval, or visitors’ center at 18th Street.

So far, Philadelphia residents have proclaimed their love for snacks and quoted their favorite Saturday Night Live clips. Here are some submissions sure to make you smile:
• A declaration of love for Hot Cheetos
• Mayor Nutter talking about civic engagement
• Comedy snippets from Tina Fey
• Confessions of crushes
• Beat boxing
• John Lennon’s “Imagine”
• Birthday wishes

There are two simple ways to submit a recording and get involved with the interactive 3D installation. You can send in any type of recording (from lyrics to marriage proposals to poems) to contribute to the ‘Open Air’ Project.

1. Use the Open Air Philly iPhone app: – This application works when you are in the vicinity of the parkway. Your message will be fast-tracked to the front of the queue and a searchlight will be directed at you when it’s your turn in the sky.

2. Sign onto the Open Air Philly website: Here, you can record, listen, read, and vote on all of the entries. The site notifies you when your recording will be transformed into light on the evening cityscape.

Now, it’s your turn. Get creative and start recording! It’s a great way to spend an evening Philadelphia-style.

-Ciara Stein

Image courtesy of Open Air Philly 

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