Flocks was an ephemeral physical intervention into the urban landscape of Cambridge Street. This art installation challenged the concept of public art as permanent and robust by using lightweight materials to create a dynamic composition of reflective birds along a one-mile segment of Cambridge Street in Cambridge, MA.
Inspired by both bird and human migrations, the project sought to create a memorable experience that celebrates the dream that fuels long and difficult migrations and the coming together of groups to create a new life.
Reflective, hand-made, plastic film birds are suspended from high-tech non-metallic rope. This lightweight super-structure allows the birds to “fly”, both individually and collectively, as the flock is activated by the interaction of the individual birds in response to changing environmental conditions of light and wind. The reflective nature of each bird allows it to maintain its own identity within the flock.
Flocks was the winner of an Ideas Competition for a Public Art Commission by the Cambridge Arts Council.
Additional funding: Boston Foundation for Architecture
Boston Architectural College,
Cambridge Electrical Department,
Cambridge Public Schools and Public Library.
Flocks by Matt Landry
Few things in nature are as ephemeral and universal as clouds. The observation of clouds allows our perception of the natural environment and our imagination to merge into a dance that defies capturing and is not static.
Instead of recreating formal qualities of shape and form, Portland Cloud creates a cloud based on the principles of physics using them as a starting point to create a piece that speaks about Portland’s atmospheric conditions while engaging the public in a playful manner.
Regional Arts & Culture Council, Portland, Oregon
Located on Governor’s Island, NY, Flutter created a space in which the boundary of land and water disappeared, allowing the public to walk through a field of ripples that are activated by the wind and sunlight.
Seen from land and water, with its ever-changing variety of light and color expressed as a floating mass of ripples, the piece is experienced as an extension of the New York Bay into Governor’s Island.
Figment Art Festival, Governor's Island, NY. 2009
Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA. 2010
Weightless, transparent and believed to be a medium for the transmission of light, ether was believed to be the element occupying the upper regions of space or the heavens.
As an art installation, Ether acts as a contemplative space where the participant is transported to an alternate reality – emotional and perceptual, as he or she interacts visually with this composition of translucent luminous bodies. This imaginary landscape – evoking the qualities of air, sky and light, seeks to induce the free play of creative imagination in its participants.
Ether is an installation of translucent luminous clusters, which form a screen suspended by poles at 20 ft. intervals reaching a height of 17 ft. above the ground. Multiple pieces of clear bio-degradable film are folded and joined to create three-dimensional clusters reminiscent of a conglomeration of bubbles.
During the daytime, the clear film reflect and refract light, re-interpreting the street and sky views while at night the clusters become illuminated through the use of solar powered LED lighting activated by a sensor at dusk.
Ether was located near Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA.
Rob Gilmore, Devin Harper, Ryan Paul.
Ether at night
Ripples was a temporary installation located on the lawn of Christopher Columbus Park in Boston, MA. As its name indicates, the installation was inspired by the dynamic light reflection created by the ripples of water on this waterfront site.
Two serpentine-like mounds were created using a pvc pipe staked to the ground. Thousands of iridescent film tabs were then woven through the frames, creating a dynamic surface of color and light.
Commissioned by the Boston Art Commission- 2012
Luminescence, the emission of light without the generation of heat is one of the most efficient ways of creating light.
The absorption of natural daylight, then the slow release throughout the night makes photoluminescent materials an ideal material for lighting in environments that have low to non-existent ambient light.
These studies show the incorporation of photoluminescent pigments into several mediums to create prototypes for larger scale use.
Shallow Waters was a temporary art installation located on Chelsea Square in Chelsea, MA. Using tomato stakes and reflective mylar, the installation created an artificial marsh in one of Chelsea's most active public spaces. The installation brought attention to the historic importance and current environmental challenges of this tidal waterfront landscape.
Chelsea was the site of the battle of Chelsea Creek, the first naval battle of the American Revolution won by the colonists because of their knowledge of the shallow waters and tides. Currently dominated by port industry, this landscape has been highly manipulated, offering limited physical and perceptual access.
Shallow Waters was created by college students from the Boston Architectural College, and local youth from the East Boston Mario Umana Middle School, ROCA and EC3 (Environmental Chelsea Creek Crew), who developed bilingual signage and audio tours.
Co-authored with Gretchen Schneider Rabinkin
Winner of Fund for the Arts Grant - New England Foundation for the Arts
Generously supported by the Chelsea Collaborative, the Chelsea Artists' Collaborative, the City of Chelsea, and ROCA.
With many thanks to Adriane Cody, Cristi Johnson and Eric Smoczynski.
Parks to people
As the 2014 Artist-in-Residence for the National Park Service’s New England National Scenic Trail (NET), I developed and exhibited a community-based art project in collaboration with the Holyoke Community College’s CHOICES after school program in Holyoke and Smith College students. The students named the project Parks to People.
The goal of this work was to create a greater connection to the local landscape, especially for youth and recent immigrant groups. Through field trips to Mt. Tom State Reservation and visits to the Holyoke Public Library History Room, students developed art projects, including a PVTA bus sign, that called attention to the New England Trail.
As an educator, I strongly believe in the value of public art as a tool for teaching about the built environment. Flocks involved over 500 students ranging from kindergarten to graduate level college students from the Boston Architectural College.
The educational activities developed by the Flocks team focused on the subject of human migration, the understanding and making of public art, and its effect on the built environment.
The Flocks educational outreach involved two schools closest to Cambridge Street: King Open School (K-8), and the 9th grade class of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
Special thanks to Cambridge Public School art teachers Kelley Mowers and Elizabeth Menges for working with us in their classrooms; and Len Charney, Head of Practice at the Boston Architectural College for supporting this effort.
Outreach coordinators: Cristi Johnson & Joshua Ayares
Funded in part by a grant from the Boston Foundation for Architecture.