In 2015 Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton introduced the “Phoenix Innovation Games,” an initiative to solve civic problems through a series of competitions and collaborations through technology. From hosting a hackathon to solve waste issues to holding design competitions for light rail stations, individual citizens and local businesses are encouraged to seek solutions through innovation. With a goal of promoting art within the downtown area the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program is pairing with the Phoenix Innovation Games for the temporary installation The Intersection on April 1-2, 2016. The Intersection uses the artwork of Dustin Farrell and Hector Primero as well as the production company Union Digital to create an interactive experience, using the body of the viewer as a manipulation tool that leads to discovery of the past and transportation to other lands.
Large projections of Farrell and Primero’s artwork shine through the windows of the A. E. England building in a seamless photography montage of urban landmarks and sweeping time lapse landscapes. Although the images by themselves are stunning, the exhibition comes alive through the movement of passers-by who activate a camera, capturing their silhouette to reveal additional layers under the initial image. Hector Primero’s images show modern downtown Phoenix, that give way to vintage photographs taken from the same viewpoint. Modern sedans morph into Model T’s and historic buildings like the Hotel Valley Ho reveal JFK flanked by his security. Buildings from the early 20th century are shown surrounded by the new additions of modern architecture that serve as a startling reminder of the changes within the city.
The landscapes of Dustin Farrell often juxtapose opposites, showing the diversity of the Arizona Landscape. The rocky texture of the desert melts away to fluffy clouds and smooth canyon walls transition to forest. There are no instructions posted and the camera is not immediately visible, so not all of those who pass on the sidewalk in front of it notice the changing images initially. This realization becomes part of the exhibition, with often delightful results and reactions. The other feature of the exhibition is a live video feed which shows an infinite loop by recording and projecting through the same space. Inhabitants from inside the building also change the image as well through shadows of body parts and objects, interacting with the viewer outside of the window. The hazy lighting within the infinite feed enhances whatever is captured, at times being dreamlike and then quickly shifting to eerie.
Ideally, the exhibition is at its best in smaller crowds as the motion detection can become confused if a figure is too close. Union Digital merges the work of Farrell and Primero beautifully in The Intersection by spacing both concepts in ways that keep the exhibition feeling like it is continuously evolving. The quick pace of the transitions make the exhibition ideal for it’s surroundings as viewers are able to experience its full potential, even if it’s just for a moment.