Client: City of San Jose
Location: San Jose, CA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $537,000
project manage, fund
City of San Jose
City of San Jose
Rob Jensen, Warren Trezevant, and Stockhausen
Sonic Runway is an audio-reactive light-art installation that converts audio signals into patterns of lights that beam down a corridor of arches at the speed of sound. Sonic Runway was created by a team of artists including lead artist Rob Jensen, co-lead Warren Trezevant, and design by Stockhausen
Sonic Runway was first installed at City Hall from November 2017 to March 2018 as part of the Playa to Paseo partnership between the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs and Burning Man Project. It returned to City Hall in 2021 due to popular demand, and was re-engineered and a new version fabricated for longevity. This new version of Sonic Runway is a multi-year installation.
- Reignite the joy of community and vibrancy in our downtown through public art.
- Create a new performance platform for musicians/performers in the heart of downtown.
- Reinforce San Jose as a global center of creativity and innovation. The state-of-the-art sound-responsive light pattern system, and custom software programming, offer unique experiences for artists and audiences.
- Integrate Sonic Runway seamlessly into existing architecture with a look that is elegant and clean, and matches the modern architecture of the City Hall building.
All goals have been achieved, and results continue to resonate.
Six months of design engineering, community outreach, and numerous meetings with the artists, their engineering team, Public Works, Department of Transportation, Office of Economic Development, and City Manager’s Office, a comprehensive design, engineering analysis and cost breakout to fabricate and install a more robust long term version of Sonic Runway for City Hall was realized.
In addition to being visually stunning, the appeal of Sonic Runway is in its interactive nature. It is a canvas for other artists. The Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs (OEDCA) host a series of music performances called Experiments in Sound. This series has featured local and nationally renowned musicians “playing” the lights of the Runway. Performers included San José Taiko, along with youth choirs, sound healers, mariachi groups, DJs, break dancers, local synth-pop, and rock bands. OEDCA also hosted a fashion show at Sonic Runway featuring local Bay Area designers and a trunk show with SJMade. In addition to these programmed events, Sonic Runway also is a popular location for impromptu performances and photo shoots, including the announcement of the San José Earthquake’s new player, and even a marriage proposal.