May 15, 2024

Take Another Look:

"What is Albuquerque's History with Art & Technology?"

Take Another Look: "What is Albuquerque's History with Art & Technology?"

Join us for the first of 3 episodes all about art and technology. joni will be joined by Andrea Polli, environmental artist and UNM Professor, and Sherri Brueggemann, Manager of the Albuquerque Public Art Program, to discuss the program's history with art & technology as well as Andrea's public artworks that integrate art, science, and technology.

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Meet the Guests

Andrea Polli is an environmental artist working at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Often her artworks express scientific data obtained through her collaborations with scientists and engineers and have taken the form of sound art, vehicle-based works, public light works, mobile media experiences, and bio-art and design. She has created and presented public artworks at 25 locations, has had over 20 solo exhibitions, and her work has been presented in over 125 international group exhibitions.

Andrea holds an MFA in Time Arts from the School of Art Institute in Chicago and PhD in practice-led research from the University of Plymouth in the UK. She is a Professor with appointments in the College of Fine Arts and School of Engineering at the University of New Mexico. As an educator, she has created student-centered professional development, theory, practice and field-based courses and experiences for practicing artists, engineers and makers.

Sherri Brueggemann is the City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Division Manager.

She is a former printmaker, special events coordinator, winery owner and adjunct faculty at the University of New Mexico's College of Fine Arts, Arts Management Program.

Learn More About the People, Places, and Projects Discussed in Episode 10

Albuquerque Public Art

Public Art Ordinance Change

The Art In Municipal Places Ordinance was established in 1978 and created the purpose of the Public Art Program and the Arts Board, as well as the funding mechanism for the acquisition of public artworks.

In October 2022, City Council approved an Ordinance change from 1% to 1.5% for Art AND updated the definition of public art to include temporary and digital media art, allowing the Public Art Program to better support artists to realize public installations that incorporate art infused technology.

Charles Mattox's Portable Laser Light Sculpture

Images of the Portable Laser Light Sculpture by Charles Mattox

In 1986, the City's Public Art Program was able to commission its first ever art and technology sculpture by artist Charles Mattox. Mattox created a portable, programmable system to project or draw laser light effects onto walls or screens calibrated to music and sound.

The laser light projector was realized and installed in 1988. It has traveled around the City between facilities with the most recent installation at Explora. Mattox's revived laser light sculpture is on display in the Art Vault at Gallery One through June 7, adding an historical dimension to the City's continued efforts to embrace art and technology.

Charles Mattox (1910 - 1996) was a sculptor and educator, who taught at many institutions around the country including the University of New Mexico. Mattox was one of Albuquerque's most cutting-edge artists of the previous century, who was interested in kinetic sculpture and the application of computer graphics to art.

His impact on Albuquerque is reflected in the UNM College of Fine Arts' Mattox Sculpture Center, where many of UNM's sculpture students earned their degrees, honoring Mr. Mattox's achievements that you can learn more about here.

City Bright Temporary Art Installations

In 2019, the Public Art Program invited local artists to submit proposals for site-specific temporary art installations to activate downtown spaces with light-based installations. From September to December 2019, four sites were lit up with installations, architectural interventions, sculptures, performance, projection and more.

The Public Art Program will be releasing another call for artists for City Bright II in 2024! Sign up for the Public Art Program's e-newsletter, to be one of the first to hear about the call for artists.

The Box Performance Space,

114 Gold Ave SW

The Game of Life

by Social Media Workgroup

The Game of Life is an interactive light artwork based on mathematician John Conway's famous computer simulation by the same name. Animated in real time, The Game of Life illustrates properties of cooperative living systems and how complexity can evolve from a simple set of rules. In this artwork, light represents life in a shared system and audiences intervene in this system in order to create or destroy sustainability.

This artwork consists of a grid of 45 circles of lights or 'pixels'. The pixels animate in a pattern based on the game rules. A pixel will 'live' for a generation if several adjacent pixels are alive nearby; it will 'die' if there are only a small number of living pixels around it. Visitors can disrupt the game by adding or subtracting pixels in real time using an interactive web app.


by Lance Ryan McGoldrick

Too many buildings in America sit vacant and deteriorating. All the while, new construction is everywhere. With this constant construction cycle, scaffolding is a recurring urban sight - almost an icon - and is the inspiration for this sculpture.

Scaffolding questions our society's building practices and their impact on the world. With fluorescent bulbs composed into a scaffold-like structure, the piece considers the fragility of over-development and resource consumption. Situated within The First National Bank Building - Albuquerque's first "skyscraper" - the sculpture speaks to the history and future of development in our city.

No longer on view.

No longer on view.

Virga I

by Entropic Industries

Virga I is conceived by Entropic Industries as a luminous shower, transforming a vacant building's entryway into a space of light and interaction. Adopting the artificial glow that is characteristic of Route 66, this 30 ft vertical cascade of light drifts with the movements of air and street life. Its glimmering strands mingle visions of New Mexico's natural monsoon seasons with the region's invisible technological pulse.

Composed of almost 30 miles of unbound fiber optic cable - the conduit through which 99% of all data is transferred over the globe - the materiality of this installation immerses the viewer in the aura of a digital communication age in which light and information have become one and the same.

Take Me

by Adrian Pijoan

Something strange is happening in Albuquerque. Pale men wearing suits and cowboy hats have been appearing throughout the town. Has the moon been full for longer than usual? Paranormal investigator Aurora Aura, PhD has been working hard to crack a decades-old UFO case.

Take Me is a collaboration between artist Adrian Pijoan and Dr. Aura. In 2019, Take Me was temporarily installed at the Kimo Theatre. Phase II of the installation is now installed in the eastern City Hall entry vestibule facing Civic Plaza. Take Me is a bureaucratic exploration of the unknown. A municipal organization from an alternate Albuquerque that searches for the phenomena that hide just out of notice. Curious lights in the sky. Strange voices on city phone lines. Faces on the moon.

City Hall, 1 Civic Plaza NW

Explore the labryinthian phones lines of the Albuquerque Department of Unexplained Phenomena by calling 505-768-4747.

Andrea Polli

Energy Flow, 2016-2018. Photo courtesy of Andrea Polli.

Energy Flow was an LED animated light installation covering the Rachel Carson Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh powered by a nano-grid of wind turbines.

The project was commissioned to celebrate the City of Pittsburgh's Bicentennial in 2016, and was extended for a longer run due to its popularity. The project was a collaboration between environmental artist Andrea Polli and Ron Gdovic of WindStax, a Pittsburgh-based wind turbine manufacturer.

Learn more about Energy Flow and check out Andrea's other projects, publications, and more!

Prototype: Rail Trail Art & Technology Internet of Things Exhibition at Gallery One

Be sure to visit Gallery One in City Hall to check out the Rail Trail Art & Technology Internet of Things Exhibition featuring 10 local artists' proposals and prototypes for public artworks that could someday be enlarged and installed along the proposed Rail trail.

Participating artists include James Black; Adrian Pijoan; Owen Schwab; KD Neeley; Viola Arduini; Zuyva Sevilla; Emily Silva; Evelyn Rosenberg; CK Cooper; and Celestino Crowhill.

Working in partnership with the City's Department of Technology and Innovation and the CNM Ingenuity's Internet of Things (IoT) and Rapid Prototyping Bootcamp coding program, two groups of artists learned how to blend public art concepts with basic internet driven technology to create interactive and science based public art prototypes, by participating in the special artist focused bootcamp course.

All 10 IoT prototypes, plus Mattox's laser light sculpture will be on display in Gallery One through June 7. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Gallery One is open 10 - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Gallery One is located on the first floor of City Hall at 1 Civic Plaza NW. Learn more about Gallery One.

Episode 11 and 12 Sneak Peek: Art and Technology

Episode 11, June - We will be talking with new media artist Celestino Crowhill, lead instructor of the IoT Bootcamp at CNM Brian Rashap, and Director of the City's Department of Technology & Innovation Mark Leech about the Gallery One Prototype exhibition and art infused technology.

Episode 12, July - We will be flipping the script and looking at how technology can be used to analyze art.

City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Division |

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