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“Open Air:” mobile app-based public art project to debut on the Ben Franklin Parkway

If you’ve ever wanted to contribute to one of Philadelphia’s many famous pieces of public art, you may be about to get your chance — via smartphone. The Association for Public Art (aPA) formerly known as the Fairmount Park Art Association has announced that it will be releasing “Open Air,” a commissioned piece of real-time […]

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If you’ve ever wanted to contribute to one of Philadelphia’s many famous pieces of public art, you may be about to get your chance — via smartphone.

The Association for Public Art (aPA) formerly known as the Fairmount Park Art Association has announced that it will be releasing “Open Air,” a commissioned piece of real-time public art that will use a mobile application to collect GPS location data and people’s voices and translate them into light-saber like beams of white light above the Ben Franklin Parkway, according to the press release.

Take a look at the simulation above to get an idea of what to expect.

Participants will be able to download the free mobile application to their phone then control the brightness and orientation of the lights with the volume, frequency, and intonation of their voices. The lights will be visible in the night sky to spectators up to ten miles away and a tent will be set up to help people use the app, according to the press release.

The piece — such as you can call something made entirely of lights and voices a ‘piece’ — is the work of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

From the press release:

Lozano-Hemmer’s interest “is to create intimacy and not intimidation. While the project will be spectacular in scale, what matters to me is that individual participants can personalize their city with their contributions.”

aPA has teamed up with the 2012 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival to bring this unusual public artwork to the city. “Open Air” will be on display starting September 20, 2012 and run through October 14, 2012.

Mark your calendar and get your smartphone ready. Your dream of making your own Philly public art is about to become a reality.

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