Say What You Will - CODAworx

Say What You Will

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Client: City of Scottsdale

Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Artist Team

Sam Okerstrom-Lang, Ryan Edwards, Caleb Hawkins, Jeremy Stewart, Grace Fo

MASARY Studios

Commissioning Agent

City of Scottsdale

Commissioning Agent

Scottsdale Public Art/Canal Convergence

Rigging Design and Installation

Matthew Hannon

Hannon Rigging and Production

Event Sponsor and Site Permitting

Salt River Project

Audio and Lighting Gear Rentals

Clearwing Productions

Projector Rentals

Epson America

Structural Engineering

Carter Vickers

Sirius Structures

Projection Surface Fabrication

Total Shade LLC

Projectors and Gear Rentals

4Wall Entertainment

Project Manager

Jennifer Gill

Scottsdale Public Art/Canal Convergence

Overview

“Say What You Will” by MASARY Studios was a site-specific, interactive artwork commissioned for Canal Convergence 2021 that explored expression, understanding, and meaning through audio and visual media. Using spectral and sentiment analysis, machine learning, and custom-designed software, the artwork would “listen” to a participant’s voice through an interactive kiosk and transform it into expressions of video. Never the same twice, the system weighed tone and meaning as it translated a variety of different types of speech into light. 
The artwork utilized 12 projectors for a total of 180,000 lumens on six projection surfaces suspended above the Arizona Canal, between Marshall Way Bridge and Soleri Bridge in Scottsdale, Arizona. Participants were invited to speak, sing, whisper or yell into any of the six kiosks set along the canal banks and experience the transformation of their voices into light and video abstractions projected onto a corresponding projection surface. The resulting experiences over the ten days of Canal Convergence created a captivating and sizable on-going conversation of light and sound across the canal, connecting friends, neighbors and strangers in a unique way.

Goals

Each year, Scottsdale Public Art presents the public art event Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light: a free, annual event that celebrates the vibrant arts and culture community by featuring large-scale art installations, educational programming, family-oriented activities, artist-led workshops and talks, live music, dance performances, and a beer, wine, and food garden. All aspects of this event incorporate its perennial themes of water, art, light, interactivity, and sustainability, as well as an overarching featured theme that changes each year. For 2021, Scottsdale Public Art selected “Art and Technology” as the theme with the intention to expand the public’s understanding of technology’s role in artmaking and explore its impact on society. MASARY Studios was commissioned to produce the featured installation for 2021 and tasked with incorporating all these themes in the creation of a large-scale artwork that utilized the permanent poles created for suspending artworks above the Arizona Canal. “Say What You Will” successfully completed all of these goals by embodying the event themes and highlighting the technology component through its use of sentiment analysis and machine learning to generate its interactivity.

Process

Scottsdale Public Art (SPA) worked with MASARY Studios, Hannon Rigging and Production (HannonRP), Sirius Structures, the City of Scottsdale, and Salt River Project (SRP) over a period of nearly two years to realize “Say What You Will.” After the initial concept was finalized, HannonRP and Sirius Structures worked with MASARY and the projection surface fabricator, Total Shade LLC, to create the rigging design and installation plan, and produce the structural engineering approval. Meanwhile MASARY continued to work on software development, testing, and eventual fabrication of the interactive kiosks for the project. In addition to the creation of custom components, SPA and MASARY worked together to source a variety of audio and lighting gear from Clearing Productions and 4Wall Entertainment, as well as high powered projectors from Epson America. The installation of “Say What You Will” was realized with a crew of 20 people over a 10-day period. The creation of this artwork would not have been possible without the generous in-kind support of Epson America, Clearwing Productions, HannonRP, Total Shade LLC, and Sirius Structures.