Chroma Booster

Submitted by Matthew Geller

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Client: City of El Paso

Location: El Paso, TX, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $400,000

Project Team

Artist

Matthew Geller

Hutabut LLC

Industry Resource

Andrew Vrana

Metalab

Landscape Architect

Trent Okumura

SWA Group

Client

Ben E. Fyffe

El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD)

Industry Resource

Mike Davis

CloudBurst Misting Systems

Industry Resource

Clint Allen

New Aspect Design

Overview

Chroma Booster sits at the focal point of the new pedestrian plaza between the Convention and Performing Arts Centers and the baseball stadium. It continues the tradition dating back to the Ancient Greeks of having a fountain as the pivotal feature of public spaces such as town squares and parks. Like many fountains, "Chroma Booster" is both visual and functional. The 55-foot tall painted steel sculpture, which includes mist, water, and light, celebrates the controlled chaos of the industrial infrastructure that both surrounds the site and dots the Texas landscape. (con't below)

Goals

The mist, which invites people to be engulfed in its cool, moist air, is in a constant state of flux, sensitive to the slightest changes in wind, temperature, and humidity. Spacing between the pipes allows viewers to stand inside the structure as if they are in the midst of a forest with towering trees. Simultaneously mysterious, unexpected, and playful, “Chroma Booster” transforms its site into an ever-changing, otherworldly environment. User-controlled push-button valves at the base of the sculpture operate a foot-wash, and three overhead showerheads allow visitors to douse themselves with a refreshing, albeit very brief, shower. At night, lights illuminate the stainless steel collars and the wafting clouds of mist.

Matthew Geller’s public artworks set out to engage the public and foster a sense of community. His works are spirited, accessible—and very often unexpected. By using disparate elements (including everything from swings to showers to wind) in surprising and interactive ways, he aims to encourage engagement with the work and among viewers themselves.

Process

Metalab provided design development and fabrication documentation services for the vertical structure. As construction managers they coordinated with the fabrication contractor and integration of programmable LED lighting and high-pressure mist systems into the tower prior to its installation. Additionally Metalab coordinated with the landscape architects (SWA Los Angeles) and site work contractors for in-ground infrastructural components and oversaw the installation procedure.

Lance Gandy (Gandy Lighting Design) designed the lighting system and Clint Allen (New Aspect Design) programmed the lighting show.

Additional Information

I use materials from the everyday outdoor environment—anything from benches, to swings, to canopies, to water—& bring them into the realm of art. I create a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe & beguilement, often using existing artifacts from the site and retrofitting them to create a micro public square or landmark that encourages creative patterns of use. The artwork becomes part of the community's fabric & integral in shaping the way we live in public space. The idea is to surprise while fostering a sense of community around an unlikely object or site.