Earthquakes on your mind? Check out Ken Goldberg’s artwork, Bloom.

24 Sep, 2015

Earthquakes on your mind? Check out Ken Goldberg’s artwork, Bloom.

Just a few weeks ago, the Bay area woke to a 4.0 earthquake in Piedmont. Following the panic-inducing New Yorker article on Seattle’s potential earthquake woes at the heart of the Cascadia subduction zone, locals were more wary of such seismic activity than normal and social media lit up discussing the possibility of “the big one.”

But we don’t need to think of earthquakes as harbingers of destruction, as former BCNM Director and current Executive Committee member Ken Goldberg, Sanjay Krishnan, Fernanda Viegas, and Martin Wattenberg showed in 2013 with “Bloom.”

Bloom is an earthwork that transforms live seismic data into an exuberant display of color. A seismometer at the Hayward Fault continuously measures the Earth’s motion and transmits this data over the Internet to the installation, where the data is processed in real time to produce an abstract field of unpredictable circular blooms. In contrast to the distractions of contemporary life, Bloom suggests a meditation on growth and geological endurance.

Bloom was commissioned by the Nevada Museum of Art and is dedicated to Color Field painter Kenneth Noland (1924-2010).

Live Online Version (requires Flash, allow 30 seconds for data to load). Collection of the Nevada Museum of Art. Thanks to JoAnne Northrup and the museum staff, Catharine Clark of the Catharine Clark Gallery, Richard Allen, Doug Neuhouser, and Peggy Hellweg of the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory for ongoing access to their stream of live seismic data. We also thank David Nachum, Vijay Vasudevan, Woj Matusek.

Find out more information on Goldberg’s “Bloom” below!

Article in Boom: A Journal of California (Summer 2015).
Brochure from the Nevada Museum of Art
UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
Seismic Signals: An Interview with Ken Goldberg. by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, The Atlantic, March 2013.