Cascode, art installation visualizing data, commissioned for Amy Gutmann Hall


Cascode, art installation visualizing data, commissioned for Amy Gutmann Hall

Located on the northeast corner of 34th and Chestnut Streets, the forthcoming Amy Gutmann Hall will serve as the hub for Penn Engineering’s IDEAS initiative, a far-reaching investment in data science: the research field that analyzes and combines vast amounts of digital information otherwise impossible discoveries, models and predictions.

Penn Engineering has now commissioned Polymedia artist Eto Otitigbe to create it cascode, a pioneering public art installation that embodies this initiative. With a height of about 60 feet, cascode will be installed on the facade of the multi-storey car park next to the Gutmannhalle, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

As part of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) Percent for Art program cascode will feature a mix of organic forms, natural materials, and data-driven design to represent the intersection of environment, health, community, and data, and their collective impact on residents of West Philadelphia.

Mr. Otitigbe is a multidisciplinary artist interested in recovering buried narratives and giving form to the invisible, and his practice embodies sculpture, performance, installation and public art. Working with Mr. Otitibe, designer Michael Di Carlo will provide the computer aided design of Cascode.

For Cascode, Mr. Otitibe envisions a piece that translates hard data into interactive artworks that are representative and engage the West Philadelphia community. The piece is constructed from materials and forms that both parallel and deviate from Gutmann Hall’s proposed architecture – natural stones and metals in earth tones that play well in natural light, paired with LED lighting that lends itself to nocturnal activation suitable.

A large part of cascode The project’s design includes an online component where a wide range of stakeholders — community members, students and faculty occupying Gutmann Hall, and Penn overall — can respond to engaging prompts that provide data that is in turn used for information cascode’s final form. In all stages of cascodeAs part of the development and launch of , the Atlanta-based non-profit arts dashboard will manage and produce public programs and engagement activities.

“I look forward to applying the patterns found in nature to artworks that endure,” said Mr. Otitigbe. “cascode directly addresses the work being done within the walls of Gutmann Hall: using data science to create justice, ensure collective well-being and uphold environmental stewardship. I am so honored to have been selected to create this monumental installation on the Penn campus.”

Adapted from a Penn Engineering press release issued on February 23, 2022.

Caption: Cascode public art project for Amy Gutmann Hall.  Concept rendering by Michael DiCarlo for Eto Otitigbe Studio.


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