Herald / Harbinger
multiple components in plaza and lobby
Artists: Ben Rubin and Jer Thorp
Brookfield Place, 6 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A permanent public artwork commissioned for Brookfield Place, a commercial coomplex in Downtown Calgary, Alberta.
Using sound and light, Herald / Harbinger connects Brookfield Place with the natural ecosystem of the Bow Glacier in the Canadian Rockies 100 miles upstream of the city center. The Bow Glacier’s meltwater feeds into Bow Lake and flows downstream in the Bow River, eventually passing through Calgary on its way east to Hudson Bay.
Portrait of a Glacier in Sound, Light, and Stone
Inside the south lobby of the Brookfield Place tower, the glacier’s constant perturbations (melting, freezing, cracking, moving) are juxtaposed against the aggregated trajectories of nearby pedestrians and vehicles in a sequence of overlapping visualizations, while outside on the plaza the glacier’s ceaseless activity is made audible, creating a visceral public presence for this restless complex of ice, rock, and water.
A Seismic Observatory
To monitor the glacier's movements, the artists constructed a solar-powered seismic observatory near the glacier to monitor the rumblings, cracks and shifts of the moving ice. The observatory continuously reports these movements via satellite to the artwork in real time, where they are expressed as sound and moving light. The glacier’s movements are rendered visually as vertical displacements of horizontal scan lines, and also audibly in the Brookfield Place lobby and outside on the plaza. A pattern set into the granite surface of the the Brookfield Place plaza maps the movement of the Bow Glacier from the Wapta Icefield down toward Bow Lake.
A City in Motion
The artwork juxtaposes the glacial rhythms of the ice against the patterns of urban life. As they walk across the plaza, Individuals pedestrians’ paths are aggregated over the course of each day and rendered as directional symbols. The artwork also tracks average inbound and outbound vehicular traffic at 14 locations around Calgary. This information is aggregated and displayed as seven “roadways” on the artwork’s seven LED fixtures.
For more information, please visit artsbrookfield.com/art_collection/herald-harbinger
Produced by: The Center for Data Arts and The Office for Creative Research
Artists: Design Team: Michele Gorman David Hotson Mike Konow Maggie McNeill Noa Younse
Consulting Glaciologist: Jeff Kavanaugh, University of Alberta
Sensor Design and Installation: Shah Selbe & Jacob Lewallan, Conservify.org
Glacier Sound Recording: Brian House LED
Fixture Fabrication: Lumid, Montréal
Stone Plaza Fabrication: Alberta Marble & Tile Ltd A. Lacroix Granit
Brookfield Properties: Herb Mah Taek Park Mike Simon Nitin Sawhney Ryk Stryland Steve Weston Winston Jensen John Durschinger
Public Art Consultant: Rina Greer
Brookfield Place Calgary Design Team
Design Architect: Earle Arney, Arney Fender Katsalidis, London
Landscape Design Architect: Shannon Nichol Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Seattle
Executive Architect: Dialog,
Calgary Executive Landscape Architect: Carson • McCulloch, Calgary
Special thanks to: Chris Anderson Steve Barker Eric Buth Alison Legault Tim McCulloch Erin Pettit Kate Rath, Michael Swain, Matt Thorp, Katie Wanner, Cameron Veres, Drew Woods,
The artists gratefully acknowledge the support of: Parks Canada, Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah aLodge
Video © 2018 Glacial Ventures Ltd.