Keep an eye out for University of Utah Department of Art & Art History associate professor Wendy Wischer‘s new public artwork on UTA buses and TRAX throughout the Salt Lake Valley for the month of January.
“In Search of Blue Sky” is a temporary public artwork by Wischer, in collaboration with atmospheric scientist John Lin and poet Lindsey Webb. This collaboration uses air quality data collected as part of the Wasatch Environmental Observatory (WEO) to personally connect the community and UTA riders to the experience of data collection along with their personal contributions, all while inspiring curiosity to dive deeper into the changing air quality and ways we might work together to achieve the blue skies we all value. Images of the signs and text can be found on the ecoart website.
The artists will use the unique communication of visual art to engage members of the public through a focus on common ground—blue skies and clean air—and connect them to air quality information collected as part of mobile platforms on the Utah Transit Authority—TRAX and electric buses.
Through their art, they will communicate this data to the general community by telling simple, and provocative statements about air and atmosphere, while at the same time, thanking those who take public transportation and acknowledging their personal contributions towards cleaner air.
This text-based artwork will exist on exterior bus signs and interior TRAX rail car signs in the Salt Lake City Area. These signs will have a URL or QR code that links to an ecoart website, which provides an introduction and access to the real-time data that is collected through WEO—possibly on the very TRAX car or bus that they are riding in. Easy links to the MesoWest Utah Air Quality Observations website provide the viewers, and riders, access to the current air quality in the Salt Lake Valley. This data is constantly changing so each time they click on the link, they have access to new information based on the WEO data collected for that day, at that time, in that location.
- Wendy Wischer, GCSC faculty affiliate, associate professor of sculpture intermedia in the Department of Art & Art History in the College of Fine Arts.
- John Lin, GCSC faculty affiliate, associate director of the Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy, and professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Mines and Earth Sciences.
- Lindsey Webb, doctoral student in creative writing in the Department of English in the College of Humanities.
Circulating throughout the Salt Lake Valley on multiple busses and TRAX rail cars.
The signs were installed on the exterior buses and interior TRAX rail cars on Jan. 1 and run through Jan. 28, 2023. The ecoart website and the MesoWest Utah Air Quality Observations website will remain accessible after the signs come down.
This project was generously funded by the Global Change and Sustainability Center, the Society, Water and Climate Research Group and Nexus: Interdisciplinary Exchange for Utah Science at the University of Utah.