After doing some brief research on interactive public artworks, I came across two artists; one named Joe O’Connell, and the other named Blessing Hancock. These two work together in a partnership to create art where interactivity plays a huge role. Taken from their website; “Joe is a technologist with an interest in living systems; Blessing is a sculptor with an interest in machines”.
Together, along with 14 other skilled workers at their Creative Machines Inc. location in Tucson, Arizona, Joe and Blessing have created numerous works of art. Annually, they have raked in roughly $1.1 million from their clients throughout the world.
One work of art that really caught my eye was their piece titled “Heart Beacon”. Standing tall with the dimensions of 9′ x 9′ x 18′, this piece of art is displayed at the Emergency Coordination Center in Portland, Oregon.
“Heart Beacon is an interactive enclosure of light, color and sound that senses and artistically displays the heartbeats of visitors who lay their hands on the piece. This highly interactive sculpture takes the literal and metaphoric ‘pulse’ of the Portland community. The sculpture takes inspiration from the life-saving mission of the Emergency Coordination Center.”
The most successful part of this piece is that the concept really engages the viewer into the work. Depending on their pulse, the color of the structure will physically change. This would make the viewer/user feel as though they are having a direct impact on what they are seeing. I am interested in seeing how the structure will react with multiple people touching it at once. At night, this must present a beautiful view.
Something that might add in a big way to this sculpture would be if it would emit sounds that would correlate to the color that is projected. I feel as though this would heavily add to the atmosphere and mood around the work, and the impact on the viewer. This sound would have to only be audible from inside the sculpture, as you would not want to pollute the entire surrounding area with sound.
I wish that there were pieces of interactive work like this around in Massachusetts/ the North East. It would bring life to communities, and possibly inspire others to see what is capable of art with todays technology.