"Complexe Meshes" by Miguel Chevalier.

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) will bring art into the 21st century and help redefine the neighborhood as an innovative arts destination with the opening of a new public art exhibit.

On Sunday, August 21, OBID will present two virtual reality installations by Miguel Chevalier as part of the Innovation Oakland (IO) Artists Series. Made possible by a grant from The Heinz Endowments, and curated by Murray Horne of Wood Street Galleries, the series features visual and digital artists from around the world working in new technology. Chevalier, a Mexican-born multidisciplinary artist who resides in Paris, is the third artist featured in the series.

The exhibit will run in the outdoor Forbes Plaza Digital Gallery—also known as the Digital Plaza—at the corner of Forbes Avenue and S. Bouquet Street. The space was unveiled in 2015 as part of what OBID describes as “Pittsburgh’s first digital infrastructure project,” an initiative meant to attract visitors to Oakland’s business district by showcasing the neighborhood’s culture of innovation.

“The world knows, and probably utilizes and implements innovations and ideas that come out of our universities and our hospitals, but we felt you needed to be able to experience that as a visitor to Oakland in public spaces,” says OBID executive director Georgia Petropoulos.

The space will allow visitors to become fully immersed in two of Chevalier’s colorful, dynamic works, Binary Waves and Complexe Meshes, which are shown on the Digital Plaza’s LED screens. Binary Waves is displayed like a numeric grid composed of pixels, binary code and other digital symbols. With Complexe Meshes, Chevalier uses 3-D meshing to create an explosive array of polygons that undulate, expand and seem to burst out of the surface on which they’re projected.

The Digital Plaza presents a new direction for Chevalier, who has only shown in conventional gallery spaces, says Petropoulos. “This is really something different in terms of having the opportunity to display his work outdoors,” she adds.

While Oakland is known for its distinguished cultural institutions, including Carnegie Museum of Art, Petropolous believes that public shows like the IO Artists Series will contribute to the neighborhood’s image as a hub for cutting-edge art. She says they also aim to include more local and student artists from area universities in future Digital Plaza exhibits.

The Miguel Chevalier exhibit will run at the Forbes Plaza Digital Gallery from Sunday, August 21 through Friday, September 30. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated...