Burchfield Penney Case Study

AV Turns Museum Inside Out With Responsive Gallery

Sensory has been helping to turn on a Buffalo art museum, as well as turn it inside out. Burchfield Penney Arts Center at Buffalo State College now has a one-of-a-kind gallery experience - an outdoor permanent installation for electronic image and sound.

The museum's 38-foot face can now be "turned on" and transformed into the world's first permanent, environmentally-responsive, outdoor new-media gallery. At sunset each night outdoor viewers will be able to see nature's own artwork projected on the outside of the building through a trio of projection towers, which will turn on forever.

Sensory has been instrumental in the creation of this project and installation of the equipment, projection towers and the accompanying powerful sound system.

The sweeping curve of the Burchfield Penney's exterior is becoming a projection surface, as The Front Yard turns the center inside out both architecturally and socially. Installations will be curated from image and sound art including new work created for this project.

burchfield penney art center

“For centuries, extraordinary architecture and art in public places have changed the way that we experience the places we live and work."
-Dr. Anthony Bannon
Executive Director
Burchfield Penney

Sensory has been helping to turn on a Buffalo art museum, as well as turn it inside out. Burchfield Penney Arts Center at Buffalo State College now has a one-of-a-kind gallery experience - an outdoor permanent installation for electronic image and sound.

The museum's 38-foot face can now be "turned on" and transformed into the world's first permanent, environmentally-responsive, outdoor new-media gallery. At sunset each night outdoor viewers will be able to see nature's own artwork projected on the outside of the building through a trio of projection towers, which will turn on forever.

Sensory has been instrumental in the creation of this project and installation of the equipment, projection towers and the accompanying powerful sound system.

The sweeping curve of the Burchfield Penney's exterior is becoming a projection surface, as The Front Yard turns the center inside out both architecturally and socially. Installations will be curated from image and sound art including new work created for this project.

"For centuries, extraordinary architecture and art in public places have changed the way that we experience the places we live and work," said Dr Anthony Bannon, executive director of Burchfield Penney. "The Front Yard challenges the definitions of 'gallery' and 'museum."

The Front Yard will feature the architectural addition of three 24-foot steel and glass-clad towers, each housing a 7500-lumen Christie DWU775-E WUXGA DLP projector. Details of paintings by Charles Burchfield from the center's collection are etched into the stainless steel cladding of the sculptured units. In addition, audio will be presented through 6.1 channel surround sound comprised of six 112M, Pops 15a speakers and two PopsSUBa sub-woofers.

The concept for The Front Yard - which is the culmination of 12 years of public art projects involving more than 400 students and more than 40 local businesses - is the brainchild of Buffalo State staff member/media artist Brian Milbrand and artist/architect and clinical assistant professor of architecture at UB since 1997, Brad Wales, who imagined transforming the exterior of the Burchfield Penney into a backdrop for audio and image, created and presented based on a variety of cued drawn from changes in the weather.

Customized sensors installed on the grounds of the Burchfield Penney will read environmental conditions, including temperature, rain, light levels, wind, movement and other factors, which determine audio and image displays. The electronic basis on these audio and image displays will be stored in an SQL database and cued from environmental factors. In addition, three Panasonic WV-SW395 PTZ weatherproof dome cameras will be installed on the grounds of the Burchfield Penney chronicling images from around the center.

The pictures, also recorded based on weather and time of day, will be compiled for artists to use in new work. The camera images also may be presented in real-time based on the predetermined environmental factors. All audio and image output will be controlled by a software program designed by Millbrand using Max/MSP/Jitter.

"The Front Yard will 'project' the sunset, 'play' the sunrise, respond in colors to a rainstorm and create music from the wind," said Bannon. "Spectators will enjoy a powerful visual illumination in the midst of high quality sound where they are the subject of focal point of the production unfolding all around them."

As a permanent gallery space of the center, new audio and image content will be added on the second Friday of every month as part of M&T Second Friday at the Burchfield Penney.

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