Oftentimes the ideal vision for a project can be a hybrid of technologies seldom-used today and newer technologies. A public art project in Milwaukee led by artist Janet Zweig, entitled “Pedestrian Drama”, is a good example. The project is comprised of 5 kiosks mounted on 5 lamp poles each showing 3 interconnected photographic animations or “dramas”, printed on successive “flaps”. The flaps turn and display the dramas like a flip book, much the way train signs displayed destinations and alarm clocks displayed the time years ago. Each flap unit has 60 images; there are 900 still photographs in all. They are housed in custom-designed aluminum cases and triggered by motion detectors when pedestrians pass by.
Milwaukee-based AFX Group provided the engineering, fabrication and installation of the kiosks. The company utilized a crew of four employees, including the President of the Company, Adam Brown who has worked with Ms. Zweig on previous projects. According to Ms. Zweig, “Selection of a fabricator can be a daunting process, but Adam’s company proved themselves to be a very valuable partner on other projects, including a very recent one. Adam and AFX bring extensive know-how in design, materials and technology. They stick with a project and see it all the way to the end.”
Enhanced Automation in Menomonee Falls, WI performed all of the electronic work, sensors and thermostat. Built into each kiosk is a high and low temperature sensor. If the temperature inside the kiosk exceeds the specified range, it will automatically shut down to prolong the lifespan of the internal components. There is also a heater and a thermostat to eliminate condensation. The majority of electronic parts were Allen Bradley branded and programmed with Rockwell Automation software.
Enhanced Automation deployed two engineers for the design and 4 assembly workers who did the wiring and testing. Long before installation, the company ran several hundred hours of tests, including testing the kiosks outdoors during a 100 degree heat wave. On one of the kiosks, they brought the internal temperature up to 146 degrees during testing.
In total, “Pedestrian Drama” was a collaboration that included more than 200 Milwaukeeans. Janet Zweig held a contest for ideas for the dramas, hired directors and performers, both professional and amateur, and filmed the dramas in Milwaukee. The end result is a creative enhancement to the pedestrian experience “on an intimate, personal scale” according to Ms. Zweig. The plan will be to swap out the dramas two more times in the future.