Program with renowned environmental artist Saturday at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art | Program Notes
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Program with renowned environmental artist Saturday at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 12:45 PM

Santa Fe, N.M.-based artist Andrea Polli, known locally for "Energy Flow" — the large-scale light installation on the Rachel Carson Bridge — gives a talk about how artists can help people visualize the environmental impact of their behavior.

click to enlarge Andrea Polli (center) and her "Energy Flow" on the Rachel Carson Bridge - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF ART
  • Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art
  • Andrea Polli (center) and her "Energy Flow" on the Rachel Carson Bridge
The free, two-hour program in the museum’s Hall of Architecture is called Hack the Grid, and subtitled “A Conversation about Light, Energy, and Environmental Sensing, A Responsive Vision for Public Art.”

Polli will present and discuss the proposals made by teams of local artists, designers, architects, scientists and more whom she led in a five-day exploration of “creative visualization” based on Oakland’s locally famous Bellefield Boiler, or “cloud factory” (so nicknamed by novelist Michael Cabon in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh). The Boiler has long made the steam that heats most of Oakland's major institutions, including the Carnegie itself.

The teams will suggest ways to use the gas-fired Boiler as a site to help people understand data on matters like pollution, energy, weather and climate.

The problem the workshop means to address is that we typically lack visible proof of the damage done by environmental impact of such everyday actions as flipping a light switch. As press materials for the event ask, “What if each utility had a corresponding work of art, seen by everyone, that changed and morphed with our usage?”

Polli is one of four artists currently part of the Carnegie’s Hillman Photography Initiative. Her works include Energy Flow, which uses wind turbines installed on the Rachel Carson for last year’s Light Up Night to power a light installation which makes visual the amount of power the turbines produce. She also created "Particle Falls," the 2014 light installation projected on the side of Downtown's Benedum Center that made visible the amount of particulate matter in the air at any given moment.

Other permanent and building-scale works of Polli's are at the University of Utah and in San Jose, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Philadelphia; Hagen, Germany; and Zagreb, Croatia. Her artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions around the world.

Hack the Grid runs from 1-3 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 28. A reception follows.

Admission is free but preregistration is suggested.

The Carnegie Museum is located at 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland.

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