New Art Draws Inspiration from Oklahoma Weather COTPA Unveils Interactive Art Installation

April 11, 2016



New Art Draws Inspiration from Oklahoma Weather. COTPA Unveils Interactive Art Installation

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) unveiled the interactive public art project “Small Talk About the Weather” yesterday in the pedestrian corridor of its Arts District Garage in celebration of its 50th Anniversary.

The installation consists of nine bands that swirl along the length of the pedestrian corridor of the garage. LED lights illuminate the bands and display synchronized patterns; an artistic representation of Doppler radar images from Oklahoma City’s historic cloud and storm patterns into an artistic representation of the city’s weather.

“When our team visited Oklahoma City, we were struck by how often people greeted one another with a comment about the current weather condition, whether it be windy, cold, rainy or with a chance of severe storms,” says artist Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines. “Because of its changing nature, the weather in Oklahoma City is ever present and becomes a part of daily conversations. We were inspired by the playful question about what it would be like to control the weather.”

A small ledge allows visitors to place their mobile device and “translate” movement from a video or other active display on their small screen into a pattern of lights and movement on the bands overhead.

“Light and movement draw people to experience it,” says O’Connell. “No art is finished until people see it and experience it for themselves. The installation allows the public to bring their perspective to the art.”

Working with the Oklahoma Visual Arts Committee and Anthony McDermid, TAP Architecture’s founding principal and lead architect on the Arts District Garage, COTPA selected new media art – a genre that uses electronic media technology to display interactivity, connectivity or computability in any combination – and Joe O’Connell was selected from among 24 artists who specialize in new media art.

“Through our partnership with the OKC Arts Commission, we transformed a seemingly mundane corridor into a place of inspiration and engagement, says Jason Ferbrache, COTPA administrator. “We are truly pleased with how this project has created a sense of place in the most unexpected space.”

The Arts District Garage is an internationally award-winning facility in the heart of Oklahoma City’s cultural district; its architecture reflects the style of its neighbors the Civic Center Music Hall, Oklahoma County Courthouse, City Hall, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City. EMBARK is responsible for providing safe, efficient and convenient public transportation and downtown parking solutions to the greater Oklahoma City area.

COTPA is celebrating 50 years of leadership in providing public transit and downtown parking services to Oklahoma’s capital city.