Public Art to Communicate Curiosities via Fiber Optics
Artist team Brian Brush and Yong Ju Lee emerged as the top choice out of 448 applicants to create a public art installation in the new entrance & lobby of the Teton County Library. The Teton County Library Board approved the library Public Art Selection Panel’s recommendation of Brush and Lee’s project concept “Filament Mind” at the Board’s public meeting Thursday, April 26.
Brush and Lee’s “Filament Mind” is a human-driven installation designed to capture and display collective curiosities, in real time through a dynamic and interactive sculpture of fiber optic cables. The cables signify the connections between the world beyond and the minds of each visitor exploring that world through the library.
Suspended threads of gossamer fiber optic cables will span the length of the new lobby, and each thread connects on the wall next to the label of a unique library subject category. The cables will interface with the library’s own “mind,” the Wyoming State Library catalog. Each time a library user throughout Wyoming searches a person, place, idea or book, an individual fiber optic thread fires a glowing light or color related to the library subject category returned from that search. In this way, Filament Mind resembles a luminous “connectome,” or map, of synaptic brain activity, firing away the thoughts of people extended through the mind of the library.
“It’s inspired by the concept that our civic spaces should be intelligent and responsive, communicating as much to us as we do to each other,” said artist Yong Ju Lee. “This enables a form of intra-environmental social interaction between our thoughts and the material of our built environments.”
“It’s also based on the notion that art, which is truly for the public, should manifest what’s in the hearts and minds of the community, as a reflection of the influence of place on our thoughts,” added artist Brian Brush. “There’s no greater manifestation of this influence than in the interests that we cultivate throughout life and the questions we draw from our world.”
The Library Selection Panel unanimously recommended, and the Library Board unanimously approved Brush and Lee’s proposal for “Filament Mind.”
“They clearly captured the inclusive and forward-looking vision the library embraces,” said Library Foundation Associate Director and Selection Panel member Pauline Towers-Dykeman. “Their proposal demonstrates a rich, in-depth appreciation of how committed this library is to seeing and hearing our community’s priorities and interests. They’ve created an amazing work of art that says to everyone, ‘YOUR curiosities…YOUR questions…YOUR hopes and dreams for yourself and the world are what inspire the library and make it relevant’.”
One established priority was for artwork that integrates with the concepts and design for the library’s new entrance and lobby by Gilday Architects. The Selection Panel gave high marks to Brush and Lee for the integration of their art in the space Gilday designed, as well as for effectively softening the large, open lobby.
“The first thing I saw when looking at the design were welcoming arms, warmth and a beautiful organic shape,” said Library Board President Lisa Delaney. “Artwork also illustrates the history of our times. This project allows us to visualize the various ways people are accessing information at this time. It’s also going to appeal to such a wide variety of people. Children will be intrigued about why it’s lighting up, “techies” will be interested in how it’s interfacing with the library catalog, and to others, it will be a gorgeous piece of art.”
The members of the Library Board-appointed Public Art Selection Panel are Tayloe Piggott, local artist and gallery owner; Christian Earl, GE Johnson Construction Manager for the library addition and renovation project; Dail Barbour, Library Facility Manager; Dimmie Zeigler, local artist, former Public Art Taskforce member and Library Education & Programs Manager; Lisa Delaney, Library Board President; Pauline Towers-Dykeman, Library Foundation Associate Director; and Peggy Gilday, Architect for the library addition and renovation project.
The library utilized the Western States Arts Federation’s (WESTAF) website to host the Call to Artists, and the Library Selection Panel used the WESTAF system’s scoring and jury administration guidelines. The standardized reporting generated from the WESTAF site is designed to make the process fair, accurate and transparent to all artists. Using the WESTAF guidelines, the pool of 448 applications was culled to 32, next to ten, then to three finalists, and lastly to the selected artist team.
Brush and Lee will be awarded $65,000 to create and install “Filament Mind” in the newly renovated library lobby in either fall 2012 or early 2013. The artists will work in coordination with library construction manager, GE Johnson, along with architect team Gilday Architects and Humphries/Poli Architects.
Funded by Donations
The library is currently constructing a new wing and renovating the original building and infrastructure with funds from the voter-approved Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET). However, the public art project, including the artist stipend and Public Art Coordinator position, are funded through private donations to the Teton County Library Foundation from The Sage Foundation and the Friends of the Teton County Library.
To find out more about the library’s public art project, visit http://www.tclib.org/addition or contact Carrie Geraci, Teton County Library Public Art Coordinator, 307-413-1474, . For more information on the artist team Brian Brush and Yong Ju Lee, visit http://www.eboarch.com. Download Proposal in PDF here.