Critical mass: public artwork

WESTERMAN, Julie and QUINN, Lulu (2004). Critical mass: public artwork. [Artefact]
Creators:WESTERMAN, Julie and QUINN, Lulu

Critical Mass is an animated light and vapor sculpture, produced based in collaboration with Lulu Quinn and installed June 2004.

In this commission, Westerman has developed and realized a novel approach to socially sited art. The aim of this commission was to produce a ‘smart’ public sculpture that measures and reflects the internal workings and activities of the Millennium Building, Wolverhampton University.

In keeping with many city centre campuses, this is a high profile, high-use building often deemed unfriendly or impenetrable to the local population. Critical Mass demonstrates a novel use of integrated electronic and mechanical systems to represent and communicate the activity inside the building to the city as a whole. It achieves this in a manner that is integral to the architecture of the building while creating an aesthetically engaging and accessible icon for the University and the city.

The work is a dynamic sensing device designed to respond to the intensity of social activity of various sorts that take place within and adjacent to the building. The pipes act as a pressure gauge for the environment, registering the ‘temperature’ of social interaction, academic debate, and other changes. Each pipe is internally illuminated and animated by LED lights; jets of steam are released into the atmosphere, providing a graphic representation of the 'pressure points' inside and around the University.

Item Type:Artefact
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018:Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
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ID Code:4462
Deposited By: Ann Betterton
Deposited On:24 Jan 2012 16:51
Last Modified:18 Mar 2021 20:30
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