Public Art in Pittsburgh: Congregation

Public art is booming in the 'burgh. For the past month ending tomorrow we have had a chance to warm our hearts with an extraordinary sound and video installation entitled Congregation created by Kit Monkman and Tom Wexler.

We went last Monday night such a great night to go it was a bit warmer. The installation runs for 25 minutes in the center of Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh. Central to the design is a human like figure in constant motion at times reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci's vitruvian man.  It morphs and merges into two or appears as an embryonic state inviting you to engage with the work and ultimately disappearing. The experience is magical as the light finds you, follows you, and connects you to other people in the square and on the screen, literally and figuratively.  It is in a constant state of flux and those who enter the circle are in a constant state of motion as it encourages you to want to move with the music and to follow the light to see where it leads.  The music composed for the piece is perfect to set the mood.  It is haunting and beckons people to the installation along with the light. 

The projection is temperature sensitive which enables it to follow and connect people.  Market Square could not be a better place to show it.  The light template's central design is derived from circles and the pavement in the center of the square is a circular pattern with a constellation in the center so the projection meshes in unexpected ways.  It looks like it was designed for Market Sqaure but in fact it has been installed in other cities.  This is a US debut.

To experience it you are equally entranced looking at the screen, ground or people moving within the patterns.  It is mesmerizing and brings smile after smile to everyone who participates or stops out of curiosity. 

I most certainly can't describe it half as effectively as the artists themselves.