'Open Air' installation puts spotlight on Philly

September 20, 2012 8:43:27 PM PDT
A temporary art display is lighting up the night sky over Philadelphia.

The world premier of the Open Air interactive show drew thousands of people to the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Encrypted within the bright lights shining high above Center City are messages sent from people below.

"Imagine almost like a Morse code; as you speak the lights flash," said Rafael.

People lined up along the Ben Franklin parkway and spent their evening interacting with art and technology.

Using a free iPhone app called Open Air Philly some newfound artists recorded a personal voice message on their phones. They waited and then watched as their message lit up the night's sky.

The frequency and volume of their voice recording was transformed into its own 30 second light show.

"The iPhone finds you in 3d on the parkway and all of the lights point straight at you when it's your turn," said Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

The concept is a first, not only for Philadelphia but for the world.

"We heard about it and came down from New York City to see it," said one participant. "We always come down for July 4th and wanted to see what this was about."

"I think it's a cool form of art," said Angelina Oh.

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer says this artistic showcase is a way for people to express themselves while feeling a sense of ownership of their streets.

"Our ultimate success is in that diversity," said Rafael. "If we can manage to get a whole bunch of different styles and people participating in the show, that's successful."

The iPhone app experienced a temporary glitch Thursday night, but organizers expect everything to be back online soon.

The event will run every night at 8:00 p.m. through mid October. If you don't have an iPhone you borrow one at the event.

On October 2 the controls will be handed over to an astronomer from the Franklin Institute and be used as pointers to highlight objects in the night sky.

Link: http://www.openairphilly.net/

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