Steamshuffle Pittsburgh / Christopher Janney + Joan Brigham




glass, steam, sound, electronic equipment, text by Emmett Williams

Eight glass panels, two feet wide and eight feet high, were installed on a public plaza for a week in winter. The interactive performance sculpture was composed of three elements: steam, sound and poetry. As pedestrians walked by the eight upright glass panels, they interrupted photo-cell beams which triggered a succession of electronically-composed sounds and activated jets of steam aimed at each panel.

When the steam hit the glass, it revealed a series of poems sandblasted into the glass in block letters several inches high.

Sounds of barnyard animals, jungle roars, hissing and whistles combined with traffic noises. At intervals, on each sheet of glass, the words slowly vanished, making way for the next burst of steam and more poetry.
Artist Statement
The elements of Steamshuffle are present in most large cities: glass of modern curtain-wall buildings, steam from public utilities, sound from radios and the city itself, and language from signs and advertising. These elements are reconformed to make a work of public art entirely responsive to its public participation.

Steamshuffle is a place for self-expression: people walking, running, some with skateboards, rollerskates or bicycles, trigger this 'responsive architecture,' creating a spontaneous dance of lively interaction.
February 25 – March 2, 1985
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