Art in the Age of Technology: The First Ever Davis, CA Transmedia Sculpture Walk

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An interactive audio tour featuring the latest development in Radio Frequency Identification technology or (RFID).

Imagine a modern generation characterized by a rekindled interest in the arts. A generation with one foot firmly planted in the door to the past and one hand boldly thrust into the rapidly digitized future. Davis, California will be the first city in the world to organize this unique collaboration of technology and art, with an equally inspiring physical and digital presence, which will entirely revolutionize the modern artistic experience. Pooling their respective resources, software developer and molecular biologist Dr. Monto H. Kumagai, the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts and the monumental sculptor/contemporarily renowned artist Finley Fryer have laid the groundwork for the nation's first Transmedia Sculpture Walkabout, an interactive audio tour featuring the latest development in Radio Frequency Identification technology or (RFID).

RFID utilizes radio waves to transfer data from electronic chips, called RFID tags (no larger than a grain of rice and capable of storing up to 32 kilobytes of data), to a "reader" for purposes of tracking, identifying, and sharing valuable and engaging knowledge and aesthetic experiences. The tags themselves—which include a transmitter and receiver for sending and receiving (tagging) encoded messages—may be embedded in sculptures and accessed by any NFC or RFID enabled cell phone. Dr. Kumagai, a founder of XtremeSignPost Inc., has developed this integrated system of shared consumer experiences around his company’s U.S. patent (number 7843334) entitled, "Method to promote and distribute multimedia content using radio frequency identification tags." The result is a technology that provides a novel, interactive method for recording, retrieving, and sharing experiences within a multimedia context.

On February 17th in Davis, CA, Senator Lois Wolk will unveil ten sculptures, with embedded tags, that have been erected at key locations throughout downtown Davis. A user-friendly digital video map will allow local and visiting participants to conduct their own personalized virtual tour and to educate themselves about the process and history of multiple artistic creations from the convenience of their own phones. In addition, every Saturday at 11:30 am, guided art tours will be conducted from the base of Finley Fryer’s sculpture, Stan the Submerging Man, on the corner of 1st and E streets. Stan, the 18ft colossal beauty pieced together from discarded fragments of plastic, was commissioned by the Black Rock Foundation for burning Man in 1999, though today it resides in front of one of the most progressive art spaces in the country.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed that his city will be the first digital city for engaging its citizens with interactive cultural landmarks, but Davis, CA has preempted this effort with its own citizen-centric art walk featuring sculptures by John Toki, Jeffrey Downing, Clayton Thiel, Lisa Reinertson, Cedric Wentworth. Moreover, Finley Fryer himself will erect a 25 ft. interactive sculpture along the 1-80 East between San Francisco and Sacramento; commissioned by the Cultural action committee of Davis and Sponsored by the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts, Davis Ace Hardware, select commercial brokers, and Davis Commons. The 200,000 cars commuting this highway can stop at the Olive Drive exit and witness this massive contribution to art, technology, and the cultural entertainment of the local and extended community before it will be seen anywhere else.

by
Matthew Leyva Wishnak

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John Natsoulas
John Natsoulas Center for the Arts
(530) 756-3938
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