Project Description

“Say What You Will” for Scottsdale Public Art

MASARY Studios transformed the spoken joys and sorrows of everyday people into a community-centred light installation in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Several years ago, Scottsdale Public Art commissioned MASARY Studios to make an interactive, light-based artwork spanning the Arizona Canal in downtown Scottsdale. The studio knew they wanted to promote conversation, acknowledging the voices of individuals and allowing the public to see the full power of vocal expression.

“Say What You Will,” as the MASARY team dubbed it, comprised six sculptural sails and six kiosks into which pedestrians voiced stories, phrases, love notes, frustrations, or anything else. The kiosks took their audio submissions, transformed them into abstract visuals determined by sentiment and spectral qualities, and projected the visuals onto the sails with accompanying ambient electronic music by Jade Rose.

Technical Director Jeremy Stewart used AI and TouchDesigner to programme the system to give each statement a positive or negative score depending on the subject matter and tone. The team then sent that data to Notch via OSC values. Brett Bolton created the Notch foundation, which routed incoming OSC data to different particle systems and built out the raster distribution to send to Resolume via NDI for projection mapping.

The project took almost two years to complete between structural engineers, artists, and creative programmers, but the hard work paid off. Those in attendance felt like they had a safe space to open up about life, love, and loss, and the project moved many of the 18,000 visitors to tears and laughter from the ultimately reflective and freeing experience.

The project, “Say What You Will,” partnered with Epson to supply twelve of their projectors to realise the public artwork.

“Notch changed the game on this project, offering new possibilities for real-time animation aesthetics and fast workflows. Our team could analyse data over networks while nimbly testing between our studio and out in the public field.”

Sam Okerstrom-Lang, Creative Director & Notch Designer, MASARY Studios

Additional press coverage:
Patch, Phoenix Home + Garden, Phoenix New Times.

Client: Scottsdale Public Art
Artists: MASARY Studios
Creative Direction: Ryan Edwards; Jeremy Stewart, PhD; & Sam Okerstrom-Lang
Notch Designer: Sam Okerstrom-Lang & Brett Bolton
Design Director: Caleb Hawkins
Lighting Designer: MASARY Studios
Sound Composer: Jade Rose
Technical Director: Jeremy Stewart, PhD

Technical Assistant: Jame Coyne
Project Manager: Grace Fo
Scottsdale Public Art Manager: Jennifer Gill
Scottsdale Public Art Director: Kim Boganey
AV Production Team: Clearwing
Rigging: Hannon Rigging
Production Rentals: 4wall, Clearwing
Project Partners: Epson America, Total Shade, & Strand Theater
Photographer: Aram Boghosian