The TPMR interface site allowed worldwide participants to enter a name, a location, a comment, a color and an emoticon which they could “send” real time to the TPMR. A live web camera allowed viewers to monitor color changes.
The Tampa Public Mood Ring
a gradient twitter-sculpture project
in art, steel, sports and blogspace
Will Pappenheimer and Chipp Jansen
Lights On Tampa 2009 triennial, City of Tampa Public Art Programs
2009 Jurors: Jerry Saltz, Anne Pasternak and Dave Hickey
Artists: Chris Doyle, Marina Zurkow, Casa Magica, Will Pappenheimer, Carlton Ward Jr.
The Tampa Public Mood Ring (TPMR) was a combined internet and spatial artwork installation which allowed a large online community to display the emotional condition of public opinion and news stories as color hue. As part of the Public mood Ring series, it was based on the wearable "mood ring" which chemically changes color according to body temperature. For the Lights On Tampa program, the ring concept drew on the local and national sports community propelled by NFL fanaticism leading to the mega event, Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. Online stories featured on TampaBay.com's NFL blogs linked participants to the capability of sending a comment-mood, encapsulated in color, to the lighting of a 25 foot steel sculpture of a Super Bowl championship ring at Cotanchobee Park in downtown Tampa. The ring sculpture was been designed by Will Pappenheimer and built by Gerdau Ameristeel, an international company headquartered in Tampa and a wholesaler of recycled steel. At its physical location, as visitors walked through the oversized ring structure, they were immersed in its mood lighting. Ephemeral messages from remote participants became enveloping onsite light transitions. The TPMR was an bling-bling monument to the collective instinct of network culture and its gradients of personalized customization. With over 6000 online participants, it enacted the growing energies and presence of an active virtual audience, transforming the boundaries of traditional media and forming a message beacon to both the city of Tampa and the sports mediatopolis. The TPMR was meant to exude, if not insert, mood of the people.
TPMR was a relational artwork intended to be integrated into the sports media world for an American iconic event, the Super Bowl. It was meant to open public access and control for a distant online spectator audience who form an active participatory community. Difficult alliances were created between diverse interests in order for this artwork to occur. Three primary constituents took an active roll in its creation; the artists, Will Pappenheimer and Chipp Jansen, the Lights On Tampa festival as part of the City of Tampa Public Art Program, and Gerdau Ameristeel and its PR firm, Leader Enterprises. Other participants included TampaBay.com of the St. Petersburg Times, ESPN Sports Center News, Murphy Productions, Inc as steel fabricators, PRG Lighting, City of Tampa Parks Division, the Super Bowl Host Committee of Tampa and the St.. Petersburg Times Forum stadium which hosted the webcamera and network access. Each played a role in both making the work possible and incorporating the artwork into the fabric of both the place and the larger than life event of the Super Bowl.
Above and Below: For Super Bowl week and the day of the game, the TPMR was linked for a period of time to ESPN’s Sports Center News in order to display poll results as color schemes. The TPMR then appeared nightly in ESPN News Center segments and as coordinated background to the News video frame. For the artwork’s purpose, this connection further incorporated the project into the Super Bowl media zeitgeist. The image below shows an areal view of Cotanchobee Park in downtown Tampa with the TPMR to the left and the ESPN Sports Center live broadcasting area to the right.