Client: San Francisco Arts Commission
Location: San Francisco, CA, United States
Completion date: 2004
Artwork budget: $18,000
Public Art Agent
San Francisco Arts Commission
This multimedia “Portrait of Place” illustrates the power of public art to document daily life in a City as well as to influence it. A solar-powered micro radio studio traveled down San Francisco’s Market Street, collecting and broadcasting an Audio Archive via small-range radio that captured Life on Market Street during a pivotal time in the City’s history, capturing the character of the City’s major thoroughfare before its transformation. We created a CD and print map; WOWHAUS is now developing Part II, which will reflect on this vital urban artery that then became a Tech hub and is continuing to evolve and change. We are seeking partners who would help support this endeavor, using all the contemporary digital tools that will themselves change over time again.
The goal was to capture a "slice of life" of Market Street from all sectors, ranging from a financier to a man experiencing homeless to a shoeshine to of blind person navigating this thoroughfare.
WOWHAUS collaborated with a wide range of community members, interviewing them and recording ambient sound as well. The Archive is in the collection of the San Francisco Public Library's History Room.
While this project was created close to 20 years we feel it illustrates the potential for interdisciplinary, engaging temporary public artworks, which rarely receive as much funding as permanent projects. We hope municipal support as well as private/public partnerships - particularly with technology companies - will enable us to expand upon this line of inquiry in our future work; publishing this project might nurture such support.