Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department, announces Wander, a new public artwork that offers an immersive choose-your-own-adventure experience throughout downtown Austin. Created by artists Chris Gannon, Chadwick Wood and Brockett Davidson, with contributions from local authors and illustrators, the work comprises a mobile- optimized web app with four unique digital journeys and a sculptural starting point, entitled “Beacon,” sited near the entrance of Austin’s new Central Library. Wander will debut on December 9 from 3-5PM at a free public celebration at the Central Library, located at 701 Cesar Chavez in Austin.
“Wander perfectly exemplifies the unique and ongoing collaboration between Austin’s art and technology communities,” remarked Meghan Wells, Manager of the Cultural Arts Division. “Through this innovative installation, locals and tourists alike will be transported on literary adventures across downtown and will engage with the City in exciting and unexpected new ways.”
HOW IT WORKS
To access the installation, participants will begin at the “Beacon,” a nine-foot steel sculpture (the only physical component of the artwork) located at the 2nd Street entrance to the Central Library. At this location, users can open the mobile-optimized web-app (www.wanderatx.com) on their phones to view four possible narratives, each comprised of a new work of fiction and companion illustrations created by Austin writers and illustrators. Once users select a story, they will receive the first chapter of their chosen adventure. Each chapter ends with a choice of action for participants, which will determine the next locations that they must reach to find out what happens in their story.
The Wander stories are intended to appeal to a wide age range, with two that are enjoyable for children and two that are appropriate for more mature audiences. The entire project is available in English and Spanish and the web app is accessible for the blind and visually impaired community. For those who prefer a more analog experience, the team has created a series of printed books of the stories which will soon be available at Austin Public Library branches throughout the City.
The December 9 launch event will include a discussion with the artists, readings from the participating authors, and a demonstration of the project for attendees wishing to begin their journey that day. Select locations will have surprises, and awards will be given to the group that makes it through the most chapters of a story. The event is family-friendly and free to all.
City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin.
The Art in Public Places Program (AIPP) acquires and maintains works of art for City facilities and parks through commissions, donations, and loans for the cultural enrichment of Austin’s community. For more information, visit www.austincreates.com.
About the Wander Team
Chris Gannon grew up in East Texas and has lived in Austin since 2001. He is currently designing buildings and interiors at Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.
Chadwick Wood moved from San Antonio to Austin in 1998 to study at UT. After graduating, he spent a few years in San Francisco and then decided to come home. He designs and develops creative software at Coffeeshopped.
Brockett Davidson is an architect, artist, and designer. Earnest in his pursuit of minimalism and honesty in design, the architecture and natural landscapes of the Southwest, Japan, and Mexico have been influential in shaping his approach/work.