Boston Art Display
Talking Towers Art Display Measures Seismic Shifts

How much do tall buildings react to the pressures of wind and seismic shifts in the Earth's plates? German/Swiss artist Florian Dombois teamed with Pittsburgh's Lightwave International to find out! A beam of laser light connected Boston University’s School of Law and Student Village 2, which are more than a half mile apart.

The display, entitled "uboc No. 2 & stuVi2," stretched across the Boston skyline from October 10th to the 13th in 2013 from dusk to 2am. It consisted of a high powered laser, used to connect two towers, Boston University’s School of Law — Josep Lluis Sert’s modernist icon, nicknamed by the students as the ugliest building on campus (uboc No. 1) — and the new dormitory, Student Village 2 (StuVi2). The laser functioned as a range finder using specially designed sensors by Lightwave, which measured the distance and sway — the architectural and geophysical dialog — between the two, and in real time, projected their movements onto a screen at the site. It was also available online via a live web stream.

“It is an elegant metaphor, the perfect Conference centerpiece,” said Mary Sherman, Executive Director of TransCultural Exchange and Curator for the installation. “Situated at a unique crossroads, the laser stretches across the only juncture in America where all the most common modes of transportation and ways in which people are brought together converge." The display spanned a major interstate (I-90), busy flight pattern (Logan Airport), waterway (the Charles River), railroad line (Amtrak and the local commuter rail), and auto and pedestrian bridge (the Boston University Bridge). As such, it is the ideal reflection of the TransCultural Exchange's Conference’s convening of people from around the globe, united by their belief in the power of art.

uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 presents a marvelous co-existence that parallels TransCultural Exchange’s core mission, which is to create a greater understanding of world cultures – one that recognizes, celebrates, and explores the differences between us, what we share in common, and how we can respectfully support one another.

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