Climate change is a cumbersome concept to grasp for most individuals and communities around the world. Beginning in Silicon Valley, an innovative opportunity exists to educate the local and global community about climate change through a dynamic work of landmark public art called Climate Clock. The Climate Clock, which has a 100-year minimum scope of operations will take the complex data around climate change and represent it in a way that makes it easy to understand and thus relevant to individuals. The Climate Clock will weave San José’s culture of technological innovation with art and climate data; creating an iconic signature work of public art for Silicon Valley that will help to measure climate change, make the process more visible, and engage and inspire individuals to personally explore and modify their carbon footprints.
Integral to success of the Climate Clock is an emphasis on the educational function of the initiative. Effective and far-reaching science-education is not only the end-goal of Climate Clock; it will be central in the creation process. Producing a successful artwork that informs and influences the public through experience-based education will involve innovative educational strategies and partnerships. Engaging communities through these strategies and partnerships, the creation of Climate Clock will involve regional universities and schools through symposia, community forums and K-12 programming. The Climate Clock web site will serve to monitor and document the evolution of the project and provide resources for public interaction including a social network forum.
The process for developing the Climate Clock has been and will continue to be a broad interdisciplinary, multi-sector collaboration. The effort began in 2006 as a core partnership between San José State University (SJSU), the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs and Redevelopment Agency, the Montalvo Arts Center, ZER01, and community agencies. In 2007, the collaborative assembled a Science and Technology Advisory Council to provide technical expertise on the categories and sources of climate change, and the challenges of sustainable measurement, data capture, data management, interpretation, and security. In January 2008, the Initiative issued an international request for conceptual design proposals, to which forty-seven artist-teams responded. Seven semi-finalist teams were invited to attend a three-day Colloquium on Climate Change and Public Art at SJSU where scientists and technologists provided the artists with additional information about the science of climate change, the psychology of influencing behavior, data management, and new technologies. During the 01SJ Biennial 2008, a mixed panel of researchers, curators, engineers, historians, artists and city and university representatives reviewed the proposals and invited the three most promising artist teams to spend three months in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center and CADRE Laboratory for New Media at San José State University. In support of the artists and leading up to the residencies, a web based project focused on climate change data visualization called ClimateJoin has also been commissioned. Artist teams have also been participating in a series of webinars to prepare them to work with climate change data and acclimate to the Silicon Valley as a site for their design proposals.
Working with the Initiative the City of San José has selected a site for the Climate Clock: Diridon Station. Formerly known as the Cahill Depot or the Southern Pacific Depot: also known as San José Diridon Station or Downtown San José -Diridon Station, it is the central passenger rail depot for San José, CA and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and historical significance. The San José Diridon station is planned as a future station on the BART extension to Silicon Valley and California High-Speed Rail. Upon completion Diridon Station would offer connections between BART, high-speed rail, Caltrain, Amtrak Capitol Corridor, ACE, and VTA light rail and buses making it the largest ground transportation hub in Northern CA. The prestige of this site and its conceptual connection to major factor in climate change, transportation represent manifold possibilities for the Initiative.
The three artist teams will be in residency at Montalvo in fall 2010, and the winning team will be selected at the end of the residencies. The Climate Clock landmark is slated for groundbreaking during the 4thBiennial 01SJ in 2012.
The realization of the Climate Clock landmark will be the result of combined resources from partnering organizations and private philanthropy. San José State University and the City of San José Public Art Program jointly own the incubation and design phases of the Climate Clock Initiative and will provide oversight of the concept design requirements, the call for artist proposals, the jury selection and management, the residency program structure, the technology partnership recruitment, and the outreach and education programming. ZER01, host of the 01SJ Biennial, provides the public venue for displaying and evaluating the artist proposals. The Montalvo Arts Center will provide crucial artist residency support. To date, San José State University and the City of San José have contributed more than $150,000 toward the incubation of the Climate Clock concept.
About the Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program
The City of San Jose Public Art Program, a division of the San Jose Office of Economic Development, seeks to build community identity by initiating artworks and exhibitions that enliven our community.
Through active engagement between the artists and project stakeholders, public art strives to reflect the City’s ethnic diversity, historic richness, and envision its present and future. http://www.sanjoseculture.org.
About the City of San Jose
From its founding in 1777 as California’s first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley—the world’s leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, work, live, play and learn. For more information, visit www.sanjoseca.gov.
ZERO1 is where art meets technology to shape the future. As a 21st century arts nonprofit, ZER01 works with some of the world’s most fertile and creative minds from the fields of art, science, design, architecture, and technology to produce the ZERO1 Biennial, an international showcase of work at the nexus of art and technology. ZER01 is also the force behind the ZERO1 Garage, where principles of artistic creativity are applied to real world innovation challenges. Part incubator, part research lab, part think tank, the ZER01 Garage informs strategies for research, development, and creativity. To find out more about ZERO1, visit www.zero1.org.
About San Jose State University
San Jose State University, Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 32,000 students and 5,700 employees, is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.
About Montalvo Arts Center
Now celebrating its centennial year, Montalvo Arts Center is an oasis of culture and nature whose mission is to create and present arts of all types, nurture artists, and use our historic Villa, buildings, and grounds in innovative ways that engage people in the creative process. Located in Silicon Valley’s Saratoga hills, Montalvo occupies a Mediterranean-style Villa, built in 1912 by Senator James Duval Phelan, surrounded by 175 stunning acres, including the campus of our international Lucas Artists Residency Program. Senator Phelan left the villa and grounds to the people of California for the encouragement of art, music, literature and architecture, a mandate that Montalvo has carried forward ever since its founding. For more information about Montalvo Arts Center, call (408) 961-5800 or visit www.montalvoarts.org.
About the Lucas Artists Residency Program
The Lucas Artists Residency Program, established in 1939—making it the oldest artists residency program west of the Mississippi, and the third oldest in the United States—is a central part of Montalvo’s active fostering of the arts, and an important part of its legacy. It provides for residencies for emerging and mid-career artists active in a variey of disciplines, including the visual, literary, musical, and culinary arts. In October 2004, Montalvo opened the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Programs, a new $10.5-million campus, designed by six teams of artists and architects, comprised of 10 discipline-specific live/work studios and one commons building.