Art is always a controversial topic. One man's Picasso is another man's 8 year old son's macaroni art that lasts the minimum amount of time on the fridge before it goes into the sock drawer with the clay ash-tray and a shockingly violent crayon drawing of dinosaurs and spaceships fighting in a techno-colour hell-scape they cannot escape.
Calgary's public art program has been under scrutiny as of late. Starting with the much-debated and eventually much-loved Peace Bridge connection the community of Sunnyside to downtown, the debate came to a head with the installation of Travelling Light - the infamous Big Blue Ring - the idea of art and the public's role in it has never been more at the forefront in this city.
Amid all the controversy, the City of Calgary has quietly installed a brilliant new piece. Check out this new public art installation in the Beltline at 12th Ave & 9th St SW, aptly named Chinook Arc:
Using art to activate and engage people in the public realm is an important tool that can help make cities more lively, unique and attractive. Chinook Arc certainly does this well.
The colours change with internal LED lighting display, giving a beautiful and vibrant range of colours:
Best part: in the interior is a smartphone-shaped lens with an activation button. The lens is actually a detector that interprets the images on the phone into the ring itself. The result is the greatest date-night activity / public music video player this city has ever seen:
All of the Lights - Kanye West
Art can and sometimes should challenge perceptions; art can and sometimes should be controversial.
Art can and sometimes should be simply fun too.