A new piece of sound art installed at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) means to mimic and/or satirize the sinking and tilting Millennium Tower, and the artists who created it say the piece will remain in place "until the building falls or the building is fixed."
The piece, titled The Point of Final Collapse, comes from the two-person artist team known as Postcommodity, a.k.a. Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist, and as Curbed reports, it will make its debut on November 15. The piece uses data and computational algorithms that represent the movement of the tower to create "healing ASMR audio and soothing binaural beats, transforming the sonification of the sinking and tilting of the Millennium Tower into therapeutic sounds designed to encourage relaxation by extending the power of the city’s scenic beauty."
Per an artists' statement, The Point of Final Collapse is intended to "engage the perspectives of a broad public by providing a call to prayer for relief from the economic stresses and dangers of a city in the throes of radical social, cultural, architectural, and economic transformation."
The piece is being installed in the tower at SFAI's Russian Hill campus, so the sounds that people hear will be coupled with views out over San Francisco. And apparently the sounds from the piece will only occur for four minutes each day starting at 5 p.m.
"What happened with that building is a global metaphor,” Martínez tells Curbed. “Systems are collapsing, animal populations, even the tech industry itself has the potential to collapse.”
Millennium Tower was found in 2016 to have sunk or "settled" more than 16 inches since it was constructed just six years earlier. It has continued sinking since then, and tilting several inches as a result, spawning a lengthy legal mess between the developer, homeowners, and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) that finally reached a settlement in August. The TJPA and the developer, Millennium Partners, agreed to share responsibility for the tower's troubles — the TJPA developed the next-door Salesforce Transit Center, the digging of the foundation for which was partly blamed for the tower's sinking. And a fix is about to get underway that will see 52 new piles inserted beneath the tower's foundation, reaching down to bedrock.