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Fort Worth’s Landmark Tower to Become an Art Wonder — Lighting Up Pioneer Tower Like Never Before

Using Artificial Intelligence and Data Visualization Technology to Create Beyond Unique Art Installations

BY // 08.12.21

Summer is made for lying on the lawn and watching fireflies light up the night. But later this month, the Will Rogers’ Pioneer Tower will draw art lovers from far and wide to witness a new kind of spectacle all its own.

The first of four major public art projects headed to Fort Worth is about to debut. It will coincide with Fort Worth Public Art’s 20th anniversary year. FWPA is a City of Fort Worth program managed by the Arts Council of Fort Worth.

Two internationally acclaimed new media artists — Los Angeles-based artist Refik Anadol and Rome- and London-based artist Quayola — will use Fort Worth as their unique canvas, unveiling new large-scale artworks.

The pair of new media works will be hard to miss, as they’ll be projected on all four sides of the 204-foot tall historic Pioneer Tower, one of Fort Worth’s most iconic facades, located at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The unveiling events on August 20 and 21 will be free and open to the public, having been commissioned by the City of Fort Worth.

“The Arts Council, in partnership with AURORA, is excited to welcome the entire community to the Cultural District to experience the Pioneer Tower premiere alongside works of talented and diverse local and regional artists,” Karen Wiley, Arts Council of Fort Worth president and CEO, says in a statement.

For Pioneer Tower Dreams, Refik Anadol reimagines memories of the city using machine learning algorithms. Texas Surveys: New Pointillism, Landscape Scans and Horse Paintings from Quayola explores the natural beauty of Fort Worth through what he calls “computational paintings,” which visualize data captured from sources such as laser-scanned trees or the motion-captured movement of horses.

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FWPA – Pioneer Tower Projection Test_ Refik Anadol _Pioneer Tower Dreams_
Refik Anadol’s massive artwork, Pioneer Tower Dreams, will be projected onto Pioneer Tower.

Both will debut from 9 pm to 1 am on August 20. The artwork’s runtime is 20 minutes and it will be presented on a loop, making for a dazzling skyline display. The artists took advantage of the newest artificial intelligence and data visualization technology to create their works.

Pioneer Tower, originally erected in 1936, was painstakingly restored in 2019, recreating its historic glass brick windows and updating the internal lighting system. During that time, project partners Joshua King and Shane Pennington, co-founders and part of the creative team behind public arts organization AURORA, worked with the FWPA program to ensure the tower’s infrastructure possessed the technology necessary for large scale projected video installations.

King and Pennington also served as consultants in the process that led to the selection of new media curator DooEun Choi and artists Refik Anadol and Quayola for this inaugural installation.

To celebrate the unveiling of these artworks, the Arts Council of Fort Worth and AURORA are partnering to organize a supporting exhibition, which will run throughout the duration of Anadol and Quayola’s presentations.

Works by 10 North Texas artists, who specialize in technology-based art, will also be on display at the base of Pioneer Tower in an exhibit titled New Stories: New Futures. Five of the chosen artists hail from Fort Worth, the other five from Dallas. Anyone who wishes to experience the outdoor exhibition of regional artists at Will Rogers will need to reserve a time here.

FWPA – Pioneer Tower Projection Test_ Refik Anadol _Pioneer Tower Dreams_(1)
Pioneer Tower will becocme the canvas for artist Refik Anadol’s Pioneer Tower Dreams on August 20 & 21.

Everything will kick off on August 18 with an artist talk featuring both Refik Anadol and Quayola, moderated by project curator DooEun Choi, from 6 to 7 pm inside the Kimbell Art Museum’s Piano Pavilion Auditorium. The talk is free to the public and so is the audio visual exhibit.

Free parking is available both Friday and Saturday night at Dickies Arena and the Kimbell Art Museum parking lots. There will also be paid parking available at Western Heritage Garage and the lots near the Will Rogers Memorial Center, which will be discounted to $5 per car for all event guests. For more information and to reserve your time visit Fort Worth Public Arts’s website.

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