A crossover of art, weather and community collaboration has come to the forefront on a Santa Monica landmark.
This week, the famed Clock Tower Building on Santa Monica Boulevard was transformed into an artistic display like no other. On the east-facing wall of the building, a projection entitled “Art of Time” by Drasko Vucevic has stunned locals, with the final day of the week-long interactive experience taking place Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to midnight.
The project lays base layers of artwork to be projected onto the building, overlaid by visual representations of real-time environmental data. That data, which includes wind patterns and noise levels, shifts the visuals by the minute using artificial intelligence. The result is an unpredictable display, where light scatters based on factors like wind speed and direction.
“The idea behind the concept was to create this kind of continuously living organism that is representative through this abstract art … it’s cooler to have the art be shaped by this environment,” Vucevic said of the piece.
The art was also shaped by locals, who connected to the projection through scanning a QR code on mobile phones. The phones became “gesture pads,” where attendees were able to feed into the art piece in real-time.
Bringing in Vucevic for the project was Art of Recovery, an initiative of the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs, working alongside Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM). Working with the artist was several years in the making, an opportunity that DTSM Operations & Placemaking Director Jeremy Ferguson jumped on from the start.
Ferguson was trained in projector use for the experience, calibrating the projectors to get the visuals just right on the Art Deco-style building. Using the Old Gap Building to keep the equipment, Ferguson stayed each night of the week-long endeavor to close up shop, working past midnight.
Still conscious of his daytime duties, Ferguson took on the extra work to help Vucevic due to the aesthetic value the Clock Tower provides to Santa Monica residents.
“This has been just so much fun,” Ferguson said. “We interact with so many people, so many people on the screen. It’s really interesting to hear (that) people want the clock tower to be illuminated at night, because they feel like it’s a beacon of hope for the community.”