Friday Feature: Artist Ned Kahn

Yeah, that’s right. Today’s Friday Feature isn’t just one project or idea, it’s an artist. Why? Because Ned Kahn’s work is fantastic and should be seen! When I arrived in San Francisco last fall for the Urban Next Summit, the above piece (Wind Portal) is what I encountered as I entered the rapid transit platform at the airport. I know that I was super sleep deprived at the time, but watching this clip now I am still just as mesmerized by the piece. For a great video of it click here and then choose Wind Portal (2nd row, 3rd from the left)

Ned Kahn is a California based artist whose work is inspired by the natural world: atmospheric movements and geologic patterns, as well as concepts like chaos theory, disturbance, and fluidity. His playfulness and keen appreciation of both fine art and science is really delightful.

He has a fantastic ability to structure his pieces in such a way that allows them to have a life and rhythm all their own. And that is why his work is so great – he not only makes pieces that recreate natural phenomena in controlled settings, but in many cases he ACTUALLY uses these forces to animate the work – bringing the unseen world around us to life and making the viewer acutely aware of their immediate surroundings.

He’s done public art pieces for many cities around the world (including one in Canada) and each one is lovely to view – you can check them out on his website. Both photos and videos are available there, but the videos really do the pieces justice. I also just found this talk that he gave about his work – it is interesting to hear how he first became interested in doing pieces like these.

Art work that is always changing and reflecting the changes around us seems so fitting for public spaces in cities – another system that is always in flux.

At the moment Regina doesn’t really have a bold public art work in the downtown. It would be amazing to have one of Ned Kahn’s pieces, maybe something like Articulated Cloud (above), installed on the library, doing double-duty as a screen on one of the parkades, or perhaps showcased on the Hill Towers downtown. You’d get such a spectacular view sitting in Vic Park, walking north on Scarth Street, or even at a distance looking at Regina’s skyline. Maybe once those Rider decals come off… they do come off right?

Have a great weekend!

**Photo by Chinnian

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Friday Feature: Artist Ned Kahn

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