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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.

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Artwork Team

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,

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.

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