Public Art Goes Virtual in the New Salesforce Building at 350 Mission

Public Art Goes Virtual in the New Salesforce Building at 350 Mission


You might want to think twice before sending your next tweet. Those 140 characters could end up on the side of the new Salesforce building on a 3-story tall, 2,500-square-foot digital canvas in the heart of SoMa. 

Virtual Depictions: San Francisco is a new site-specific installation that uses real-time public data drawn from Twitter, and 3D depth camera footage of contemporary dancers to create one of the world’s first virtual data sculptures. “The idea was to connect in a new way with the City of San Francisco, and to bring a 21st-century approach to public art and to the experience of space,” explains Refik Anadol, the 30-year-old, Turkish-born visionary behind the piece. Looping sequences running at various times of the day, week, and year narrate the life of the city’s inhabitants in an immersive visual spectacle that Anadol describes as “media architecture.”

Mounted in the massive, open-air lobby of Salesforce's new LEED Platinum-certified office building, Virtual Depictions is part of a larger civic project to revitalize the Mission Street corridor. The installation will be the centerpiece in what Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the building’s architects, imagines to be an “urban living room.” Next door sits the new Transbay Terminal, which, once completed, will boast a 1,400-ft-long elevated linear park. 

350 Mission Street officially opens to the public in January 2016. Starting this week, Virtual Depictions will run during evening commuting hours. 

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