John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
A video artist has created an animated lightning storm on the ceiling.
Terrified of getting on boats? Try summoning this mental image: intense sheets of lightning ripping the sky apart, while storm-driven waves crash at the sides of your structurally questionable vessel.
That's what you might be fretting about next time you visit Boston's Harbor Islands Pavilion, the gateway to the ferry for the city harbor's rocky archipelago. Multimedia artist Georgie Friedman has outfitted the pavilion with a projector that paints a virtual storm on the ceiling; visitors waiting for their ship to Bumpkin Island are treated to a four-and-a-half-minute loop of incandescent bolts slashing through the night gloom. All that's missing are the thunderclaps.
"Electrified Sky," as the cyclonic artwork is called, is one of two video works that Friedman's installed at the pavilion. (The other is shown here.) Her pieces are part of the Pavilion's latest public-art series, "Winter Lights," that's being sponsored by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Boston Cyberarts, the National Park Service and others. Aside from the ersatz lightning, there's also an interactive game of Mad Libs penned by local poets, a visual recreation of long-gone buildings using strings of LEDs, and multicolored monoliths that change hue if you text them.
Here's how the Greenway Conservancy describes the outdoor series, which runs until March:
The Winter Lights series encourages interaction, shared experiences and unexpected encounters for visitors to the parks. These events and installations are envisioned to intervene in the daily lives of city dwellers and push them to pause, listen and pay attention to the beauty of nature amidst the urban setting of downtown Boston. We hope those who experience Winter Lights on the Greenway will linger in the parks a little longer to enjoy winter in the City.
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