Austin is the only city in the U.S. to earn a City of Media Arts designation in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network, and now, the Capital City will be the sole American representative in an anticipated global exhibition.
The title, awarded in 2015, connects Austin to a web of similar hot spots across the globe. As part of that worldwide network, Austin will be featured in a stunning exhibition in France, opening in late April. Artist and University of Texas at Austin professor Clay Odom has been selected to represent our local arts scene with Flowering Phantasm, his massive multimedia installation.
Along with his design firm, studioMODO, and fellow Austinite Sean O'Neill, Odom crafted the interactive sculpture using light and sophisticated computer programming. The 6-by-10-foot piece consists of hundreds of "petals" decorated in LED fibers that respond to outside movement, sound, and light.
"This installation explores how work is conceptualized, designed, and fabricated in our contemporary world," Odom says in a release. "The project is designed to provoke contemplation of the complex relationships between people, space, nature, and technology — as they are and as they can be — and hopefully produces a sense of wonder and delight in the process."
Flowering Phantasm and more works from globally-renowned artists will be on display at the UNESCO exhibition, called Data City, at Enghien-les-Bains (a suburb of Paris) April 21 through July 13. Other cities on the docket include Dakar, Senegal; Enghien-les-Bains and Lyon, France; Gwangju, Republic of Korea; Linz, Austria; Sapporo, Japan; Tel-Aviv Jaffa, Israel; and York, United Kingdom.
"We are pleased to have Clay Odom represent Austin's celebrated spirit of innovation at this global event," says Meghan Wells, manager of the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. "This exhibition, and other collaborations with our UNESCO Creative Cities partners, is an important platform for communicating the global progress and expanse of media arts."