Monday, November 2, 2009

Fast-Moving Mural

Philadelphia has more murals than anyplace I've ever seen - 3000 at last count. There are some truly amazing works of art splashed on buildings in every corner of the city. They loom 10 or 15 stories high, some with seriously American stories featuring giant portraits of Franklin and Jefferson, some tell of local history, and some, among the most charming, relate to a specific neighborhood or even the building on which the mural is painted. Now there's a new one in town; I'm not sure it's counted in the mural tally, but it's a great new take on giant wall art. The Comcast building, a jazzy new spike on the landscape (the tallest in the city, built in 2005); I'm not wild about the Robert Stern design - the top looks like a mail slot topped by a wire basket - but the wall art inside is a stroke of genius, a visual feat perfectly suited to our techie moment in time. Entering the giant atrium entrance you think everything is normal upmarket corporate, (except for the cool art overhead - a post for another day) until the wall facing you starts to move. Suddenly the huge space is churning with images - nature, time, creation, love, Philadelphia, invention, art, etc. etc, all punctuated with fast-moving people rollerblading, dancing, running, giggling - they even make getting ready for work look fun. Perspectives change - one minute you're out in space, the next you're underwater or in a meadow or flying over the city. We stood there completely and utterly entertained for the whole show (about 20 minutes) and then asked the attendants at the desk if they ever got tired of it - "no way" was the response. They also said there are regular changes in the content, and that a special Holiday version goes up at the end of November. Here's a link to the designer who created this magic with some clips of the show