The City of Culver City is proud to announce that Culver Current, a groundbreaking mixed media sculpture created by Los Angeles-based artist Nate Mohler, has been extended for a second year of exhibition. The stunning interactive “fountain” displays a combination of generative video art on a sculpted cylindrical façade. Culver Current will feature two new shows, the first of which launched late July 2021 and runs for several months from dusk to 2 AM daily. The second show will launch later in the year. This temporary sculpture installation was built on top of a pre-existing water fountain in the Dale Jones City Hall Courtyard, taking a modern approach to traditional sculptures and fountains as a central place to view art.
With support from the Cultural Affairs Commission, the City Council originally approved the Culver Current installation in 2019 as part of a year-long celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the City’s Art in Public Places Program. “Through an innovative use of technology, Culver Current brings us a new way of experiencing the built environment and captures the creative energy that defines Culver City,” says Culver City Mayor Alex Fisch. Funding for Culver Current comes entirely from the Cultural Trust Fund which is paid into by developers.
“This sculpture is a reflection of the past, a moment in the present, and a discussion of the future” said Mohler, who investigates connectivity and audience participation through unconventional space and immersive art. The concept behind Culver Current is also a nod to German philosopher Jürgen Habermas’s vision that supporting art and activity in public space leads to a more harmonious society.
Culver Current’s video art was inspired by the colors and textures of photographs from Culver City and the surrounding area. Mohler explains that through the fusion of traditional sculpture, film, and new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) neural style transfer, he is able to reimagine new skylines, abstract structures, and beautiful moments. The resulting animations, however, retain visual references of Culver City. Generative video also changes based on online activity within the geofenced area of Culver City and the use of social media hashtags #CulverCity and #CulverCurrent on Twitter. As online activity rises, more turbulence will be reflected in the current of the sculpture’s light.
This first show of 2021, comprises 15 generative composites of manipulated photographs that include the Hayden Tract, street views, sunset skylines and also glimpses of the artist and friends swimming around the sculpture. A complimentary augmented reality (AR) postcard with a digital ribbon-cutting and mini video will be available after August 22 at the sculpture site. The back of the postcard includes information about the free Pixpand app, which will show how to view the moving image on your smartphone.
Nate Mohler is a media artist working with technology as his “paint-brush” to build conceptual and avant-garde experiences through digital art and mixed media sculpture. A 2019 UCLA graduate with a B.A. in Design & Media Arts, Mohler is intrigued with the fusion of conceptual art and technology to support connectivity and social activism with unconventional space and sound. His work focuses on eliciting action and question through digital mediums such as projection mapping, immersive installations, sculpture and video art. Mohler treats each project as an opportunity to evoke emotion, challenge thought, or support social change.
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, diffusing along ripples cut into the surface. Culver Current’s fountain uses no actual water. Instead, a series of video art works reflective of Culver City and the surrounding greater Los Angeles region are projected from within the sculpture. The show is on a 15 minute loop with accompanying sound by composer Luke Mombrea.
The artist worked with a dedicated team of professionals since the sculpture’s inception in 2019, including Jacob Fishman, Ruben Jimenez of Eastside LED and welder Eric Vrymoed. Mario Romano of the design engineering studio M.R. Walls oversaw the fabrication of the Corian® shell and created the custom-cut surface based on natural lines found in the ripples of water and sand.
Culver City Cultural Affairs