Open Air Philadelphia raised expectations and a lot of attention in the days before its launch two weeks ago. Computer simulations and artist renditions promised a magnificent, whimsical and democratic display. Has that promise been borne out?
Open Air Philadelphia raised expectations and a lot of attention in the days before its launch two weeks ago. Computer simulations and artist renditions promised a magnificent, whimsical display controlled directly by the Philadelphia everyman.
Has that promise been borne out? We’d like to know about your experiences.
The interactive installation invites a playful public. Record a 30-second message, queue it up with hundreds of others, and wait for a sign that you’re on deck — then watch as a computer translates your voice into a series of pulses and movements from spotlights up and down the Parkway.
Have you tried it? How did it work for you? What do you think?
Says Edward J. Sozanski, an art critic writing for the Inquirer, “The light display isn’t much more impressive than what one might find at the grand opening of a new mega-mall. As visual invention, it’s banal and boring.”
He says the light from Center City diminishes the overall effect, the beams themselves lack visual interest and coherence, and the movement of the lights fails to carry any sense of emotion.
He’s not the only one unhappy with the result.
WHYY’s Peter Crimmins took a beating from some commenters for not drawing specific and intense attention to the concerns of conservationists and night sky advocates who worry about the effects of the beams on migrating birds and the natural biorhythms of people deprived of a completely dark sky.
But people are still tweeting about it. More than 4,000 messages have been collected and transmogrified into configurations of light.
The installation runs through October 14.