Produced by Michael O'Reilly
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born in Mexico, works in Canada) is the artist behind the enormous outdoor art installation OPEN AIR, and the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) is the commissioning organization. One feels the hand of an alien or machine intelligence in the presence of many of Rafael's works, and OPEN AIR is no different. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is covered by a canopy of light, provided by 24 powerful robotic spotlights. This canopy moves, each light darting and pulsing in synchronization with the others, triggered by the voices of the citizens of Philadelphia. Like something out of STAR TREK, the effect is like a benevolent alien being made of light, city-sized and 10 miles high, happy to be in Philadelphia. In addition to an interview with Rafael, we speak with the director of the aPA, Penny Balkin Bach, about the present, future, and past, of public art.