The video projection array featured in the LED crown of Salesforce Tower every night will be getting switched up in the coming months, and will feature abstract version of video being covertly shot by cameras around the city.
Video artist Jim Campbell tells the Chronicle that residents — especially those living in Potrero Hill — have been complaining that they're sick of the same 45-minute loop of images that's been playing since the tower opened in mid-2018. And now we know that he's working on a new loop, which is set to debut in the early fall.
Campbell explains that the imagery is being taken from cameras that he's placed in various locations, including the Cliff House and the plaza in front of the tower itself, and will feature especially colorful images of street life — selected via software that scans for clips with the most color and movement. Allaying fears that people's recognizable faces might be included, Campbell says these will be extremely blurry, abstract depictions, "a little color there and the beginnings of shape."
This sounds like one of the clips that's in the current rotation, which shows pedestrians and cars moving a busy street scene. That's one of the several portions of the current projection you can see in the drone video below by Duncan Sinfield.
Developer Boston Properties awarded Campbell the contract for the art piece after receiving a reportedly impressive proposal from him in 2012. The project came with a $4.5 million price tag, and Campbell also received $200,000 to make a companion piece for the ground-level plaza.
A rep for Boston Properties tells the Chronicle that while Campbell has total control over what appears up on the crown, the company has, "kind of right of refusal."
And yes, Campbell says, he's gotten plenty of suggestions from the developers and others for what to project up there.
Back in May, the crown displayed a series of student pieces for one day, including one that appeared to be an error message for the projector itself. And last Halloween, as you may recall, it featured a Lord of the Rings-inspired "Eye of Sauron."