The Triforium is amazing.
A “polyphonoptic” sculpture, whose original design includes 1,494 multicolored glass cubes that glow in synchrony to music from a 79-note glass bell carillon, the Triforium is a six-story, 60-ton public artwork by Joseph Young. It stands in Fletcher-Bowron Square, in the shadow of City Hall, a stone’s throw from Grand Park, flanked by a bike lane and located near dozens of landmarks in Downtown Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, the Triforium was ahead of his time. The computer installed in the structure to synchronize the bells and lighting effects was plagued with problems from the beginning. It was politically contested and denounced by art critics. Its incandescent bulbs have pretty much burned out. But still it stands.
We are a coalition of artists, urban planners, civic leaders, and LA enthusiasts who believe that Joseph Young’s vision for an interactive light and sound sculpture deserves a second chance.
In 2015, the 40th anniversary of the sculpture’s dedication, we have technology that was unavailable in 1975. We want to retrofit the Triforium with long-lasting, power-saving LEDs, and build it a new brain—a nimble and inexpensive computer system that can achieve Young’s original goals. We want to create an app that will allow people to send “polyphonoptic” compositions for the Triforium to play, and invite local artists to engage directly with the work.
Restored to its intended grandeur, the Triforium can serve as a beacon for Los Angeles’ commitment to its citizens. But above all, it can shine a light on public artwork itself—and signal the flickering of a new movement, one that encourages people to reclaim and celebrate public artworks in their cities.