Client: The State of California, California Air Resources Board, and Hensel Phelps Construction
Location: Riverside, CA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $300,000
Dyson & Womack
Composed of habitat-like geometries, Saraceno’s artwork was commissioned for the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) state-of-the-art campus, one of the world’s largest and most advanced emissions testing and research facilities. “Spatial Echos of Breath” reveals elemental properties that, in reflection, seem to perpetually recede from view.
We are living in a moment of environmental crisis, with clouds being replaced by toxic pollution, and Saraceno’s work reflects back to us the particulate fiber of this world and our role within it as we see ourselves as part of the ensemble. The public art collection at CARB brings art into dialogue with climate change, and Saraceno’s piece is the catalyst to that dialogue. Standing at the main entrance to the campus, visitors pass the work and are inextricably linked with the surrounding environment. In both reflections and lines, the artwork draws a seemingly impossible connection to a future on, in, and with the air.
The public art program at CARB was designed and implemented by Dyson & Womack and is the world’s largest permanent collection of public art addressing air quality and climate change.
The CARB campus is known globally for its technical excellence and environmental leadership. The public art collection at CARB is the public face of that mission and both reflects and enhances the narratives of achievement, diversity, resistance, and ingenuity found in the histories and futures of CARB.
The CARB public art program was designed by Dyson & Womack as a model for public commissioning through a process that exhibited clarity in design and concept and stimulated well-being through environmental stewardship and community engagement. The program is a world-class collection of aesthetically and technically excellent artworks that model active stewardship of global environmental issues through sustainable practices and spark conversation about air quality and the role of California as a leader in public well-being and environmental sustainability.
Dyson & Womack develop public art programs with equity, sustainability, and accessibility in mind. These core values are based on our belief that art should be innovative and progressive when it comes to addressing the fundamental concerns of our time. Public Art has the unique ability to ask questions and pose answers while engaging and welcoming the audiences of today.
Dyson & Womack were selected by the State of California to lead the CARB public art program from the development of the Art Plan to its final implementation. How the collection of commissioned artists and artworks came into being was an exercise in rethinking what a responsible future looks like in a world increasingly impacted by climate change.
The commissioning process included a requirement for a Statement of Sustainability and corresponding evaluation criteria. Outlined in the public art action plan, we asked artists to consider sustainability within the lifespan of the artwork, its maintenance, and long-term care. In addition, the commissioned artworks incorporate efficiency into their material use and sourced materials and fabrication locally. Dyson & Womack created a book, Air Resource, to memorialize this landmark collection of public artworks.
Dyson & Womack developed, curated, and project managed the program and each individual artwork acting as the liaison between the artists, the design-build team (ZGF and Hensel Phelps), and the project owner (the State of California). The project was a multi-year collaboration under the direct supervision of Dyson & Womack.
The California Air Resouces Board public art collection includes five permanent artworks by commissioned artists, Noé Montes, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Tomás Saraceno, Refik Anadol, and Allora & Calzadilla. The commissioned artworks explore the conceptual framework of air quality and climate change through the lenses of environmental justice and community, our collective and future climate potential, and the racial and social-economic impacts of air pollution. The collection is an explosion of creativity and innovation that takes sustainability, innovation, and human care and responsibility as its core message.