Client: Broadcast Apartments
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $25,000
Ray C. Freeman III
This commissioned inter-connected art installation rises through six stories of a mid-rise apartment building, unifying the building’s six elevator lobbies with a singular gesture supported by a multi-media installation on the ground floor. The overall conceptual intent is to explore the various elements of the word “Broadcast”, which is the name of the building, through a variety of media. Consists of steel fabrication, sandblasted, formed aluminum, vacuum-formed plastic panels, surface mapped processed video, CNC-cut acrylic and vinyl, 3D printing, programmed LED lighting, laser cut hand finished wood panels, and augmented reality.
Our goal was to create a thematically driven installation that would explore and expand the definition of the term "Broadcast", and to invoke imagery and evoke memories from that expanded definition. The multi-media installation at the ground floor fills the lobby and sets the stage for the steel tower that originates here to integrate all of the elevator lobbies in a single gesture by continuing upwards, piercing through each floor as it goes. All elements of the design are original works, based on this theme, and created by the three collaborators and their assistants for this installation. The installation includes work by individual artists, pairs of artists, and collaborations of all three.
The project started with brainstorming sessions and meetings in which the meaning of the word "Broadcast" (the name of the building) was discussed, dissected, and de-constructed. It was broken into various elements, which for us came to include concepts such as origination, media, encoding, transmission, receipt, decoding, consumption, and other ideas, both abstract and technical. Various media capable of communicating these individual concepts were considered, and initial sketches and narratives were created. Individual and joint capabilities and interests of the team members were considered, and materials and technologies explored in mock-ups and other experiments. Finally, selected elements were assigned to individuals and/or teams to bring to life. Additional assistants with specific specialized skills were employed to extend the capabilities of the team. The live video that was created especially for the project and is fed to the monitors in the lower display and the "exploded television" tube in the overhead portion adds a finishing touch.
A central element of the design is an abstracted broadcast tower, referencing the nearby broadcast towers for which the building is named. It sits firmly in the lobby amidst the multi-media presentation there, and rises through each elevator lobby as if it were embedded in the building. A themed photograph exploring the local environment, including the broadcast towers and the building itself, hangs from a crossbar. The imagery changes to a humorous piece of signage when viewed through an augmented reality app. This portion of this artwork can be changed from time without any changes in the physical work.