Code:ART - June 1-3, 2017

For one weekend in June 2017, we will temporarily reframe the City of Palo Alto as a laboratory for urban interventions and creative placemaking while engaging commuters, residents, students and visitors in dialogue to shape the future of the downtown corridor.

With the support of an Art Works grant through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and generous support from local corporate sponsors, the City of Palo Alto will launch a festival called Code:ART June 1-3, 2017.

At the epicenter of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto’s population of 65,000 more than doubles each day with tech commuters and Stanford University affiliates. The sometimes secretive nature of the work taking place within these companies has occasionally limits interaction between the residential community and tech employees, and leaves the downtown corridor largely void of evidence of the creative minds at work. Code:ART will temporarily reframe the City as a laboratory for urban interventions and creative placemaking while engaging commuters, residents, students and visitors in dialogue to shape the future of the downtown corridor. 

Registration for Code:ART Opening: Artists as Futurists is now open!
Join us at Institute for the Future for lunch and a panel discussion to kick off the Code:ART festival on June 1, 12 - 1:30 PM. Facilitated by Institute for the Future Executive Director Marina Gorbis, the conversation will explore the role that artists play in shaping the future of our communities and places that are important to us. Panelists include Matthew Tiews, Erik Adigard and Vinitha Watson and a brief welcome will be given by Jim Keene, City of Palo Alto City Manager.

Volunteer Opportunities: We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us with 3–6 hour shifts throughout each day, June 1-3. Volunteers will interact with the public, answer their questions, assist with setup and breakdown of the art interventions, and conduct surveys. Apply here to become a Volunteer for Code:ART today! For details, contact

View the Map of Installations here.

Featured Installations and Artists

                     Murmur Wall by Future Cities Lab - King Plaza

The artwork visually activates the plaza with its dynamic shape and illumination, creating an immersive and meditative environment to draw in passersby. Embedded 3D printed data pods that display search terms trending in Palo Alto. LED text displays within the data pods will inform viewers of what Palo Alto is searching for. With motion sensors tracking the presence of viewers to create an interactive light display, the artwork allows individuals to contribute to the streams of data as they flow by. Viewers can also contribute “whispers”, or direct messages, to Murmur Wall through a web portal at These real-time anonymous contributions move rapidly through the lattice as bright white datastreams. They will appear only once, never to be collected, reused, or shared, while creating a unique and dynamic viewer experience. Murmur Wall will remain on display June 1 - October 2, 2017.
Urban Interventions

Safe and Sound by Tomo Saito - King Plaza 

The interactive sound installation celebrates the technology, creativity and unity through an interactive sound experience by inviting pedestrians in Palo Alto to take part in the activity to compose music in the public space. Participants can create music by sitting in the chairs, and explore the feeling of being in a safe and comfortable zone actively.  How it works? Each chair is assigned to a track of music, and you can trigger the track by sitting. When there are 8 people sitting, you will hear the full composition of the music. The artwork offers a unique musical experience each day of the Code:ART festival.

Sensory Garden by Elaine Uang, Sandra Slater & Megan Stevens - 534 Emerson Street

Located in the alley between Bell’s Books and Mac’s Smoke Shop, Sensory Garden is a motion activated light and sound installation that seeks to reclaim a sense of calm wonder and delight through the creation of soothing, bell-like sounds.
By day, as people walk through Bell’s Alley, their footsteps trigger a collection of delicate chimes generated by a ground level Bell Harp. As they continue walk through and note the changing sounds, eyes follow  the beautiful floral chalk art etched along the walls. 
At night, the alley glows magically with a set dangling overhead solar powered LED lights, providing a scene of safety and inviting one to dance through Bell’s Alley and re-experience the lyrical chimes of the LED harp and the bells above.

Caustic Chasm by Danielle Rose Aspitz, Autumn Austin & Devon Meyers - Lytton Plaza

Inspired by a cave of wonders, the installation will draw the public in by the glimmering jewels it holds. Resembling a cellular amalgamation, this art installation consists of free standing structures and seating simulating water modules in brilliant hues that will play with the light.  A light-weight canopy formed of voronoi-like cell modules creates a surface that reflect, diffract, and increase the effects of the light, water and form, which is ever changing depending on the time of the day, the weather, and a number of people underneath.

StreeTALK by Erik Adigard & Patricia McShane, M-A-D - 285 Hamilton Ave

StreeTALK: What is your dream city? is a participatory installation of passersby commentaries and drawings on the future of the city. 
A street corner is restaged as a space of convergence for Palo Alto citizens, workers, and visitors. As such, two walls can stand as a monument for any and all cities in the world.
Framed by a simple set of rules, passersby are invited to address a simple prompt. The ensuing responses and markings become a conversation with worldwide ramifications rooted in the intersection of things, ideas, concerns, and languages. As such our Palo Alto street corner turns into a lively universal agora.
The final piece will stand both as set of thoughts, suggestions, ideas and opinions, but it will also appear as a new symbolic city tree and surely an unpredictable collective artwork in its own right.
Merging the notions of walls and trees is also a reminder that it is time for urban architecture to become more organic, and for greenery to further enhance the urban fabric. Visit

The Ghost in the Machine by Ben Flatau - 250 University Ave

The Ghost in the Machine consists of two “clouds” above visitors heads on freestanding wooden supports.  Each cloud has a network of sensors and motors that morph the shape of the cloud, along with the underlying space, in response to a person or people moving beneath them.  As a result, those interacting with each cloud are knowingly communicating with another person through the spatial medium. This dynamic installation highlights our connection to one another in an interactive and tangible way.

Feng Shui : Flow of Energy by Mateo Garcia - 455 Bryant St

Temporary light installation, Feng Shui, is comprised of a series of LED lights suspended to the stairway of the parking garage. The artwork represents the flow of light energy from the sun to the Earth.  Controllable LEDs respond and change based on various inputs from the public. This installation aims to activate the street-facing stairwell of the public parking garage by illuminating it day and night to create a dynamic, communal experience for pedestrians using the stairwell.

The Pavilion by Kyu Kim and Hanna Joo - 535 Bryant St

The Pavilion is an experiential architectural space that is unique, minimalist, and inviting for people to discover architecture more specifically a sense of space and community.
The intervention is created from blue “recycle buddy” bins, a single object that is repeated and joined together to form a pavilion. The bins are rooted in its connection to Palo Alto and local community efforts to recycle and care for the environment.
The installation creates a sense of community to share the spatial experience with children and adults, people of all ages and backgrounds.

The City of Palo Alto and Institute for the Future will facilitate discussions between business representatives and residents to synthesize the feedback on the festival installations and discuss long term planning and implementation.

Code:ART is made possible through the generous support of:

Additional support provided by:

Palantir and Verizon

Contact Information: 

Code:ART Event and Sponsorship

Last Updated: May 27, 2017