The New Future of Public Art?: Digital Digital Everywhere: Denver Digerati

By October 9, 2017 No Comments

Written by: Elysian Koglmeier on behalf of the Public Art Archive

Many cities are taking advantage of LED technology and capitalizing on new spaces often associated with advertisements – building facades, billboards, marquees and LED screens. You’ll find them on street corners or looming high several stories above you. Artists are using these screens to showcase their digital talents.

Boston Cyberarts created massive “digital murals” around the city of Boston in 2012. One showstopper was installing digital art on a large illuminated sign outside of the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center. Most people passing by expect to see an announcement for a Boat Show or a Star Wars Convention, but instead, they saw pulsing, beautiful color and abstract shapes. Founder of Boston Cyberarts, George Fifield, calls these digital works the future of public art.

The Public Art Fund in NYC urged its public to stop staring at their small screens to look at the big screens around the city. This past February, 28 artists took over over 100 screens and filled them with digital artwork in the collective project, Commercial Breaks.

There’s also the upcoming walls of LED screens in LA, and Jim Campbell may put a digital work even higher…atop San Francisco’s Salesforce tower.

Denver has also joined the LED screen party. Denver Digerati brings digital works onto the LED screens of downtown Denver. It is an initiative developed in 2016 in partnership with the Denver Theatre District and Arts and Venues Denver. The project is curated by Denver residents Ivar Zeile and Ryan Pattie. The essence of the festival is captured by John Wenzel’s article in The Denver Post.

From the Denver Digerati website: The Denver Theatre District’s LED infrastructure is unique to any other city in the country, supporting a mandate to enhance Denver’s urban core through a dynamic arts-presence by local innovators and leading artists from around the world.

In late September, Denver Digerati hosted SUPERNOVA, an outdoor animation festival. The festival included film screenings of curated short-form digital content on two LED screens in downtown Denver, at the intersection of 14th and Champa and the Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria, all in the heart of Downtown’s theater district. In addition to the numerous screenings throughout the day and night, the event featured live new-media performance and an educational forum featuring juror presentations, professional critiques, panel discussions and small-screen art engagement.  

Competition winners were announced through Denver Digerati’s Facebook Page.

The Public Art Archive team was lucky enough to experience SUPERNOVA and contemplate the future of technological advancements in public art as we prepare for WESTAF’s upcoming symposium, The Future History of Public Art. Session details can be found at the end of this article.

Here are some photos the PAA team captured from the SUPERNOVA festival. More can be found on the SUPERNOVA website.

Atomic Elroy. Still from Son of the Artist Attains Enlightenment. Photo Courtesy Public Art Archive.

Jeremy Couillard. Still from Matinee in Atmos (Excerpt).

The Future of Technological Advancement in Public Art Session Description: The use of advanced technologies has become increasingly widespread to instigate funding, data collection, increased participation, and efforts to improve the preservation of public art. Presenters will assess established practices and growing trends within the field’s integration of technology into public art programming. They will consider the relative merits of the incorporation of new media into mainstream programming while considering ways to build support frameworks to aid in more seamless and meaningful integration.

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