When is a Fountain Not a Fountain? New Art Coming to City Hall on Dec. 19

The City of Culver City has commissioned media artist Nate Mohler to create a dynamic temporary artwork for the Dale Jones City Hall Courtyard, 9770 Culver Boulevard. Culver Current is a groundbreaking digital kinetic sculpture that for the first time combines diverse materials, including projected videos and custom-sculpted Corian®. This visually stunning artwork will go live at 5 PM on December 19. The public is invited to attend and is encouraged to take a Culver CityBus to the unveiling at City Hall or park in one of the downtown parking structures or the City Hall parking garage.

“Culver City has a long, proud tradition of supporting the arts. As we celebrate 30+ years of our Art in Public Places Program, we’re excited to bring this innovative, digital light sculpture to City Hall for Culver City residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the winter months. Commissioned by the City through our Cultural Trust Fund, we hope this artwork will inspire, entertain and enlighten the entire community,” said Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells.

Culver Current comprises a 9-foot tall cylindrical steel frame with 494 LED panels inside a custom thermoformed Corian® shell. Projected video illumines the Corian® surface from within, diffusing along ripples cut into the surface. Culver Current’s fountain uses no actual water. Instead, a computer captures digital activity within the city’s geographic borders and feeds that back into the fountain. In the morning, the fountain will be shallow and mellow but as the day progresses, the fountain will grow and visually roar with online activity that is not visible or typically represented in physical space.

“This sculpture is a reflection of the past, a moment in the present, and a discussion for the future of public art,” said Mohler, who investigates connectivity and audience participation through unconventional space and immersive art. He is intrigued by projects that compel an observer’s emotional reaction and eagerness to touch. Having grown up near Culver City, Mohler wanted to mirror the Culver City community and tap into the inspiration the city gave him professionally. Please visit the Culver Current Art website for a glimpse of this installation, to RSVP, and for more information.

Culver Current defines several values: the current time and the city’s transformation into a forward-looking entertainment center, the water current within a fountain, and electric currents. Mohler’s inspiration for this sculpture was an inactive fountain in the Dale Jones Courtyard in front of City Hall, and he states “Culver Current offers a fresh and mesmerizing way to understand the social landscape of Culver City as it exists via the virtual online community. Rather than physical water, the fountain will source its flow from digital activity within the City’s geographic borders, allowing for a reflection of the City’s otherwise intangible community. Each new day, the people of Culver City are the substance and energy for the fountain. Viewers and participants can influence digital droplets (which make up the fountain) by tagging #CulverCurrent and/or #CulverCity in social media posts, constantly revitalizing an ever-evolving communal current.”

“It has been seven years since the last visual temporary art project was commissioned by the City. It is fitting then, that Culver Current’s unique design will illuminate community activity and connectivity as it happens,” says Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin, Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission. The City of Culver City commissioned the project, with support from the Commission and the City Council.

Nate Mohler is an emerging media artist who works with technology as a paint brush to build fresh and avant-garde experiences through digital art. A 2019 UCLA graduate with a B.A. in Design | Media Arts, he met media artist Refik Anadol in his sophomore year who became a mentor and guide. Mohler assisted in some of the largest projects Anadol has recently completed, including projection mapping of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. During his senior year, Mohler was commissioned for his first public art installation by the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture and UCLA Residential Life.

For inquiries about the artist and sculpture, please contact Irina Panasyuk, IVP Public Art, at [email protected] or by contacting her at (213) 952-5302.

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