A Grand Collaboration

"Wake" portion in progress under construction in STEAM Studio

“If this project comes about, and we already know the directive that failure is not an option, it will be because of the UNCA team, which has been doing a tremendous amount of detail work that shows how it’s supposed to be done,” says conceptual artist Mel Chin, who, as UNC Asheville’s Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow, has directed students in STEAM Studio on fabricating a giant moving sculpture that will debut in the heart of New York City on July 11, 2018.

“When you’re doing things that move and that are big for a showcase like Times Square, you have to take a great level of interest and focus. A lot of people will roll through during the time this will be up – more than 300,000 people a day,” says Chin. The sculpture, Wake, will be paired in Times Square with Chin’s mixed reality creation, Unmoored, created in collaboration with Microsoft. Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.

Asheville will get a preview of Wake when it is assembled outdoors on campus in June before being trucked north. In the meantime, this new video takes you behind the scenes of the collaborative work between mechatronics engineering, art and drama students that is bringing Chin’s vision to life.

You can also read more about the project and see Mel Chin describing his vision in the newest issue of UNC Asheville Magazine.