04. Aug 2014

A Sculpture and an immersive colour environment after dark

Sculpture design: Creative Machines – Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock
Photos: Neil Zeller and Paul McGrath

In North America a “Chinook” is a soft, warming wind from the ocean. One of the most striking features of a Chinook is the Chinook arch, a band of stationary stratus clouds caused by air rippling over the mountains, which can also give rise to picture book sunrises and sunsets. The colours of the arch change over the course of the day and are acknowledged as a true spectacle. American artists Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock have created an interactive sculpture, which they call “Chinook Arc” in Barb Scott Park in Calgary, Alberta/CDN. The work reflects the artists’ impressions of the Beltline neighbourhood, a district located immediately to the south of Calgary’s downtown, as a well defined, confident and vibrant community.

“Chinook Arc” has become something of a meeting place for locals of all ages. The flowing form of the sculpture, which consists of diffuse acrylic panels mounted on a steel frame, draws inspiration from the historic Beltline Streetcar loop that once encircled the neighbourhood. Standing inside the sculpture, the viewer is immersed in coloured light, which is generated by custom designed LED fixtures mounted between the flexible acrylic panels. Looking upwards, he can see the sky – framed by the colour-changing light art installation. Visitors to Chinook Arc have complete control over the lighting through an optical sensor that projects the movements and colours it sees onto the sculpture. Visitors can wave their hands, move coloured objects or play a movie on their cell phones in order to create their own light sequences: a sculpture that frames the sky in the daytime and an immersive colour environment after dark.


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