Soundoff at the Approach

Multi-media installation/performance
Rensselaer County Riverfront Arts Fest 1993

Soundoff at the ApproachFunded by the National Endowment for the Arts/Art in Public Places grant, this project links the industrial core and waterfront of the City of Troy to the technological research center of Rensselaer on the hill. “Revisiting the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution” is the framework for a multidisciplinary project offered jointly by the School of Architecture, Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer (iEAR) and the community of Troy to create an interactive site specific public artwork at the “Approach,” a neo-classical stairway that once connected downtown Troy with the Rensselaer Campus. The participants created a homage to the social, cultural and historical greatness of Industrial Troy, offering the hope and vision of re-vitalization and growth of the area. Students and community members researched lesser-known historical roles of women, immigrants and minorities, recorded their “voices” to combine with contemporary citizens of the community. Video monitors downtown served to bridge the distance between the industrial core and the Institute. This became a seed project of the Broadway Plan or Cultural Corridor and marked the start of fund raising for renovation of the “Approach.” Elements in the artwork induced images and sounds of the past including experimentation with original historic instruments of Troy fame, archival photos, interviews with the elders of the community, contrasted with the found images and sounds of today. The audience participated directly with the media to juxtapose memory and reality, transforming their collected fragments into collages, performances, dance, experimental video installations, projection and street theater that served as post-modern monuments to the people of the region. “Revisiting the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution” addresses the relationship amongst transient work, collaborations between artists, design professionals and the community and integrates art, design and education.