In June, the Public Art Network Year in Reviewconference in Pittsburgh selected Firefly, a public artwork by Ned Kahn for top honors. Each year, at its conference produced by Americans for the Arts, the Public Art Network recognizes exemplary and innovative works of public art from the prior year.
Firefly (see image) is part of the new 13-story San Francisco Public Utilities Commission building. It is composed of five-inch polycarbonate tiles that are individually mounted to spin with the gusts of wind that blow up Golden Gate Avenue, creating an effect that mirrors the kinetic energy created by wind. At night, as each tile spins, it comes in contact with a small magnet that triggers thousands of tiny LED lights that are meant to resemble the color and movement of fireflies.
Ned Khan received a Creative Work Fund grant in 1998 to collaborate with Tenants and Owners Development Corporation (TODCO) to create a public work for the exterior of Ceatrice Polite, a senior housing facility at Fourth and Folsom Streets in San Francisco. Like Firefly, the work responds to wind patterns.