Ember is an interactive installation, which explores community through a campfire-like circle of wooden seats that generate music from a visitor’s presence. Each seat in the circle is an instrument, which adds a note to a melody. This melody is a composition formed from the presence of visitors. In this way Ember establishes a conversation of social contact, time, and nature.
Ember places visitors in the ‘familiar’ arrangement of a campfire in which one is never alone but surrounded by the notes of previous visitors. It is a community of the past present and future. Ember is a window into the song of the city, provoking interaction between visitors and a space of reflection on the daily movements of urban life.
As a visitor approaches the piece they see a round deck made out of narrow slats of wood and a circle of what appears to be logs. On closer inspection the visitor can see that the logs are finely formed and gracefully rounded wooden seats. These seats emit a very subtle pulsating glow from beneath them. As the visitor sits on a seat, it emanates a bright glow beneath it and a soft marimba-like tone rings. There is a pause, then the surrounding seats, come to life lighting up and emitting beautiful notes. Each seat weaves the song and storyline of the presence of all previous visitors.
Ember provides recollection amidst a place of transition. Public places often seem distant and impersonal, used only as a causeway, a place of temporary inhabitance. Ember provides the contrast of an ever updating historic melody.
To increase public engagement in the project we started by talking to people walking along market street. We explain the project and take the response as artistic feedback. Additionally we have sought out advice amongst the art community from people who inspire us such as the President and member of Executive and Visual Arts Committees for the San Francisco arts commission, JD Beltran. We have gleaned valuable advice and assistance from members of Grey Area Art Foundation. We set up a website on which people can leave comments and suggestions for the project. We are also working on a video describing the project and showing our work on a prototype.
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