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Weekly Art Hit: Nobuho Nagasawa’s “Water Weaving Light Cycle”

Nobuho Nagasawa’s Water Weaving Light Cycle, the artwork suspended above the Cherry Street  stairs in City Hall, connects visitors to the ever-changing environment outside.  In this Nagasawa FFD05.021.04dynamic,visual and auditory experience, blue light pulses along a fiber-optic cable sculpture, imitating flowing water, with movement ebbing and flowing according to outdoor weather conditions. As you’re watching the representation of ocean waves above you, you’ll also hear environmental sounds recorded at beaches around Seattle, including those at Golden Gardens, Lincoln Park, and Carkeek Park. The sound you hear at any particular time will reflect current weather conditions as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, adding an auditory layer to the whole experience. The variations of light and sound remind you, the viewer, of the greater world around you, as it is easy to get wrapped up in the daily routines that may keep you inside a skyscraper all day.

Nagasawa FFD05.021.05During the day the lights are off, but because the optical fibers of this visual soundscape were woven by traditional kimono weavers in Kyoto, you can still experience a beautiful wave that almost looks as though woven with glass. Nagasawa explains the experience of the connection with nature and urban life: “Sound/light dynamics reflect both the actual weather changes outside and, figuratively, the flow of human communication inside City Hall,” and calls this piece “living architecture in action.” This connection with nature also celebrates the city of Seattle’s embrace of environmental sustainability.

The artwork Water Weaving Light Cycle was funded with Finance and Administrative Services Department 1% for Art.

IMAGES: Nobuho Nagasawa, Water Weaving Light Cycle, 2005, Woven optical fiber, stainless steel cable wire, illuminators, sound. Located at Seattle City Hall. Photos by Nobuho Nagasawa.

Weekly Art Hit is featuring artworks every week from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the city’s public art program.