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Arts, Sports & Culture

New Art Installation Aims to Gather 'Congregation'

People passing through Market Square have the opportunity to become part of an art installation starting February 21st.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) is launching the North American Premiere of Congregation, an interactive kinetic light installation.

“It’s a large-scale piece that basically projects light from nine stories into the air onto the square,” Jeremy Waldrup, PDP President and CEO, said. “And it uses heat-sensitive technology to follow users in Market Square, and it projects the art that they’re creating through their movements onto a large screen.”

According to artist and co-creator Kit Monkman, the goal of Congregation is to turn the audience into performers by “exploring their environment and creating changes to the projection.”

“During that cycle, the lighting effects change throughout but it will basically run on a loop every 25 minutes and it will run nightly with that respect,” Waldrup said. “So it doesn’t change nightly but throughout the 25 minutes there are multiple different segments that provide different treatments throughout the piece.”

Each loop will include music from composer Peter Broderick.

Waldrup said the PDP and the Office of Public Art put out a call for artists looking for ideas to “activate” Market Square during the winter months -- Congregation beat out about 130 other applicants.

He said they have a production team led by flyspace productions to help pull off the large installation.

“We’re bringing in a ginormous crane, creating a small compound on the corner of Market Square that will then allow this image to be projected onto the kind of center portion of Market Square,” Waldrup said. “And then we’ll have a large screen projecting the images that are being created in real time so that folks can stand in the square and see the art that they’re creating.”

The installation is part of the PDP’s Market Square Public Art Program, which aims to display art in the winter months of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“Our hope was to bring an installation into the Square that would enliven the Square on nights and weekends,” Waldrup said. “I think Market Square has become such a destination for folks throughout the spring, summer, fall and now with the holiday season, the holiday market there, even to the holiday months, but there is definitely a lull in January, February and March.”

Congregation will run from dusk to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays through March 16.