Fog Bridge—150 ft. long—by internationally renowned Japanese artist
Fujiko Nakaya, her first work in San Francisco;
Aeolian Harp by the San Francisco-based artist Doug Hollis, and
Daylay, a light and sound installation emanating from below where the sea wall meets the Bay, by the LA-based visual arts/performance duo Lucky Dragons
Artworks debut on Exploratorium's opening day, April 17, 2013
When the Exploratorium opened its new home on Pier 15—at the edge of the city and the Bay—several new works debuted that are designed to harness the dynamics of the location's marine and urban environments. Among more than 40 works by artist collaborators on exhibit at the museum during it's inaugural year at Pier 15, the Exploratorium presents three major environmental artworks that play off the architecture and the natural elements inherent at the Exploratorium’s new site—works that highlight fog, wind and the museum's dynamic location at the edge of both the city and Bay. These inaugural works, which transform the Exploratorium’s new site into a dramatic stage for contemporary art, include the first-ever fog sculpture in San Francisco by Japanese interdisciplinary artist Fujiko Nakaya— known internationally for her ephemeral works of fog. In addition, an arresting, large scale Aeolian Harp by the San Francisco-based artist Doug Hollis straddles a wind tunnel created by Piers 15 and 17, and “plays” the drafts at the opening to San Francisco Bay. The sounds produced by the wind blowing across the Harp’s choir of strings are transmitted mechano-acoustically to speakers. Daylay a light and sound installation emanating from an opening in the pier above the water, by the LA-based visual arts/performance duo Lucky Dragons, will combine visual and sonic presence with public performance elements. All of these works exist at the intersection of the natural world and the urban. They combine the forces of nature and technology in the outdoors and on a grand scale, suggesting the Exploratorium’s forty plus year commitment to science, the arts, a sense of wonder, and looking at the world in a new way.
Nakaya’s Fog Bridge—ephemeral and other-worldly—magically envelops a 150 foot long pedestrian bridge, which crosses the open bay between Piers 15 and 17. One thousand high-pressure nozzles lining the bridge will create an immersive environment that enshrouds participants in mist. The work will be lit at night, to stunning effect. Although Nakaya’s fog environments have been presented around the world, this is her first project in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region famous for its dramatic fog.
Exploratorium staff Marina McDougall, Shawn Lani and Thomas Rockwell worked with guest curator Henry Urbach to select Nakaya for the first incarnation of Over the Water, a new annual art installation initiative. Urbach is the Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT and is formerly the Head Curator of Architecture and Design at SFMOMA. Fujiko Nakaya’s work of fog will be on view through September 16, 2013.
Doug Hollis’s Aeolian Harp straddles a wind tunnel created by Piers 15 and 17 on the Exploratorium’s new site, responding to the delicate zephyrs and howling gusts blowing in from San Francisco Bay and acoustically reflecting the forces acting on the edge of the city and the bay. This wind activated sonic work plays the dynamics of the site. The sounds produced by the wind blowing across the Harp’s choir of strings are transmitted mechano-acoustically to speakers. The harp is the culmination of a series of investigations into the nature of resonating strings and the ways in which this resonance can be transmitted and amplified though non-electronic means. It will be on permanent view.
An early version of Doug Hollis large-scale wind harp was mounted on the roof of the Exploratorium’s original home in 1976, when as an artist-in-residence, working with Frank Oppenheimer, the Exploratorium founder and noted physicist and educator, Hollis set on the path of developing a rapport with sound sculptures and landscape that has persisted throughout his career.
Lucky Dragons’ DAYLAY is a light and sound installation emanating from an opening the pier above the water. Once the sun sets, the cutout will come alive with a programmed light array and a delayed audio recording of what it sounded like exactly 12 hours earlier in that spot. Swapping day for night, DAYLAY plays with our preconceptions of sonic space and illustrates the dramatic contrast between day and night along the Embarcadero. The work is the first in a suite of related nocturnal performances, events, and interventions by Lucky Dragons to take place in summer and fall 2013.
The work of Lucky Dragons comes out of a long term engagement with the Center for Art and Inquiry and the Outdoor Exploratorium teams. Lucky Dragons’ work is both high and low tech, collaborative, and transcends single genres. At the heart of it all is playing together, building up social collectivities, re-engaging the wonder and impossibility of technological presence, and the creation of new and unforeseen experiences.
About the Artists
Japanese fog artist Fujiko Nakaya is the daughter of physicist and science essayist Ukichiro Nakaya, renowned for his work in glaciology and snow crystal photography. Like her father, Ms. Nakaya’s lifelong artistic investigation engages the element of water. Working as part of the legendary group, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) in 1970 she enshrouded the Pepsi Pavilion at the Osaka Expo in vaporous fog, becoming the first artist to create a sculptural fog environment.
Since that first project Nakaya has created fog gardens, fog falls and fog geysers all over the world. Her permanent fog landscapes can be experienced at the Nakaya Ukichoro Museum of Snow and Ice in Ishikawa, Japan; the Australian National Gallery in Canberra; and the Jardin de L'Eau, in the Parc de la Villette, Paris. She recently created a fog sculpture for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and consulted with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro on the Blur Building for the Swiss Expo in 2002 on Lake Neuchatel. Nakaya has also collaborated with such artists as Trisha Brown, David Tudor and Exploratorium advisory board member Bill Viola, to develop fog performances and stage sets.
In the early ‘70’s, Doug Hollis began working with natural phenomena and searching for new ways to talk about landscape and the forces that are constantly affecting it. This search ultimately led him to his current work with wind- and water-activated sound structures, and to the specific, environmental dynamics of sites. He has taught at Harvard University, Berkeley, UC San Diego, and the University of Virginia. Recent permanent installations include WIND ENSEMBLE, Port of Los Angeles, LA, CA; STARSCAPE, New Federal Office Building, Oklahoma City, OK; MOUNTAIN MIRAGE, New Denver Airport, Denver, CO; Memorial Union North Courtyard University of California, Davis, CA (in Collaboration with Hargreaves Associates LA and artist, Anna Valentina Murch).
Lucky Dragons’ Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Rara have presented interactive performances and installations in a wide variety of contexts—including MOCA Los Angeles, Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art (as part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial), The Kitchen and PS1 in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, REDCAT and LACMA in Los Angeles, Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle, ICA London, ICA Philadelphia, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Lucky Dragons is in residence at the Exploratorium through Spring 2014.
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