Final proposal selected for San José Climate Clock design

Final proposal selected for San José Climate Clock design

Art competition conceptually integrates
Silicon Valley technology with Green Vision

An eight-story solar-powered kinetic sculpture is the winning design of San Jose’s “Climate Clock International Public Art Competition.” Entitled Organograph, the interactive multilevel structure invites the public inside to observe, investigate and respond to the processes of climate change.

The artist team, Geo Homsy, Chico MacMurtrie and Bill Washabaugh, won the international art design competition. Once realized through private fundraising, the Organograph would become a Silicon Valley landmark and an interactive focal point for the transit gateway to Downtown San Jose at Diridon Station. The San Jose Public Art Program, ZER01: the Art and Technology Network, and San Jose State University announced the design winner on, Friday, March 9, 2012.

Inspired by the form of a heliotropic flower, the Organograph would be entirely powered by the sun and illustrate the complex mechanisms that govern the earth’s carbon cycle. Discover the Organograph in this video that illustrates the science and design concepts informing the artwork.

“Once private donors come forward to make this design concept into a working piece of art, the Climate Clock will serve as a prominent icon for the Capital of Silicon Valley that would reinforce our role as the world center of innovation,” said Kim Walesh, San Jose Director of Economic Development. “Organograph will showcase how this innovative region can link art and technology to address this pressing environmental issue.”

A replica of the Organograph will be on display in San Jose City Hall as part of the Climate Clock exhibit from June through December 2012. Fundraising plans for creating the full-scale public art sculpture will be announced in the future.

The International Climate Clock competition was announced in February 2008. Artists were asked to respond to a challenge of imagining a significant artwork that would  a) measure changes in greenhouse gas levels;  b) be an instrument of data measurement that can collect data for 100 years; and, c) be sustainable, feasible and have educational value.

In May 2008, a selection panel of artists, curators, and scientists was assembled to review ideas submitted by approximately 50 artists. The panel was advised by local stakeholders representing 1stACT Silicon Valley, the City of San Jose, Montalvo Arts Center, San Jose State University and ZER01. As a result of that competition, three artist teams were selected to develop their project proposals in 3-month residencies at the Lucas Artist Residency at Montalvo Arts Center, working with students from various disciplines at San Jose State University.

In March 2012, the selection panel was reassembled to review the results of the artists’ 2-year development process. After public presentations and a day of interviews, the panel selected the Organograph to receive a monetary prize and an opportunity to further develop the design.

San Jose State University supported the Climate Clock residencies awards through grants from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, and Adobe Foundation. The development of the proposals was funded through the San Jose Redevelopment Agency’s public art funds. Montalvo Arts Center, 1stACT Silicon Valley and ZERO1 provided additional support for the project.

About the Artists

Geo Homsy is an innovator, scientist, engineer, and technology artist with deep understanding of physics, computation, biology, and robotics. He has collaborated on more than thirty large-scale machine sculpture and technology-based artworks over a period of 23 years. He has also made original contributions in theoretical chemistry, biological computation, secure networks, and spread-spectrum data storage. Current works include biofuels research, guidance navigation and control for aerospace applications, and teaching introductory electronics to artists. Geo holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Chico MacMurtrie is artistic director and founder of Amorphic Robot Works, a collaborative group of artists, engineers, and technicians that use robotic sculpture to animate space and stimulate public dialogue. The Organograph team previously collaborated on numerous works as Amorphic Robot Works including the Totemobile and the Inflatable Architecture series. Artist Chico MacMurtrie has exhibited work throughout the world and has received the support of many notable granting agencies, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation. Many of these projects have poetically raised questions about birth, death, renewal, mechanical vs. organic life, and the resilience of nature within the urban habitat.

Bill Washabaugh has spent a decade blending engineering, science, sculpture, and music. Bill is the founder of Hypersonic Engineering & Design, a firm in NYC working at the intersection of technology and art. He has designed flight control software for Boeing, music instruments for Bjork, a massive stage show for U2, and is currently completing a new media sculpture for the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bill has a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

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