San Jose's 'Sonic Runway' public art installation impresses at its debut

- The city of San Jose formed a partnership with the producers of Burning Man and the result is a flashy public art installation that was launched at a Friday night event. 

The artwork is called Sonic Runway and is at City Hall Plaza.

During the opening night ceremony, the voice of an opera singer gave life to the runway. 

It's an art installation that uses lights to visualize the speed of sound.

"Ultimately, I want people to have a sense of wonder," says Rob Jensen, Sonic Runway's lead artist.

The artwork stretches about two blocks at City Hall Plaza.

It's made of metal and LED lights. The artwork converts audio signals into a pattern of lights that shoots down a corridor of arches at the speed of sound.

"I'm sort of fascinated by the world around us all the time and I want to share that sense of wonder with other people," says Jensen. 
The sonic runway was displayed at Burning Man last summer.

"Sonic Runway at Burning Man was arguably the best piece at that event. It was by far the belle of the ball," says Kerry Adams-Hapner, San Jose Director of Cultural Affairs.
She tells KTVU she saw it and developed a partnership with the producers of Burning Man to bring artwork from the desert to City Hall Plaza, calling it the Playa to Paseo initiative.

"It's like you're at Burning Man, but you're in San Jose," says Bree Hawkins who attended the launch with her family.
During the launch program, Mayor Sam Liccardo greeted the crowd with, "Hello, Playa to Paseo people." 

He dressed for the occasion with a borrowed leopard print jacket to go with what he describes as cool artwork that complements City Hall Plaza.

"People gather here for protests, speeches and marches. This is the place where a civic megaphone is given to every resident in our city," says Mayor Liccardo.

Sonic Runway's creators say the artwork is a place where citizens and artists can express themselves.

"There's this incredible creative energy that has only been shared in the Burning Man community .

Now we have the opportunity to share that with cities and civic communities," says Warren Trezevant, Sonic Runway's co-creator.

The artwork will be up and running every night from 5:30 p.m. to midnight until mid-January.

On designated Thursdays , there will be special events featuring musicians, poets and others who will perform live.

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