School of Art, Media, and Technology

Faculty Project has been selected as the winning proposal for the San Jose Climate Clock

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Organograph by Geo Homsy, Chico MacMurtrie and Bill Washabaugh has been selected as the winning proposal for the San Jose Climate Clock. International art competition conceptually integrates Silicon Valley technology with San Jose Green Vision. An eight-story solar-powered kinetic sculpture is the winning design of San Jose’s “Climate Clock International Public Art Competition.” Entitled Organograph, the interactive multilevel structure invites the public inside to observe, investigate and respond to the processes of climate change.

Inspired by the form of a heliotropic flower, the Organograph would be entirely powered by the sun and illustrate the complex mechanisms that govern the earth’s carbon cycle. Once built to full-scale, the Organograph could become a Silicon Valley landmark and an interactive focal point for the transit gateway in Downtown San Jose at Diridon Station.

The artist team, Geo Homsy, Chico MacMurtrie and Bill Washabaugh, won the international art design competition. The San Jose Public Art Program, ZERO1: the Art and Technology Network, Montalvo Arts Center, and San José State University announced the design winner.

Discover the Organograph in this video that illustrates the science and design concepts informing the artwork and visit the Organograph website for more information.

The sculpture is in line with San Jose’s Green Vision that includes ten bold goals over fifteen years to enhance sustainability and reduce the city’s carbon footprint by more than half. A replica of the Organograph will be on display in San Jose City Hall as part of the Climate Clock exhibit from June through December 2012 to coincide with the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial.

“The Organograph will showcase how this innovative region can link art and technology to inspire public action on this pressing environmental issue,” said Kim Walesh, San Jose Director of Economic Development. “We hope private donors come forward to turn this design concept into an incredible working piece of art.”

The International Climate Clock Competition was announced in February 2008. Artists were asked to respond to the challenge of imagining a significant artwork that would measure changes in greenhouse gas levels; serve as a measurement instrument that can collect data for a century; and be sustainable, feasible and educational.

In May 2008, a selection panel of artists, curators, and scientists was assembled to review ideas submitted by approximately 50 artists. Advising the panel were local stakeholders representing 1stACT Silicon Valley, the City of San Jose, Montalvo Arts Center, San Jose State University, and ZERO1.

As a result of that competition, three artist teams were selected to develop their project proposals in three-month residencies at the Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center, working with students from various disciplines at San Jose State University. In March 2012, the selection panel was reassembled to review the results of the artists’ two-year development process. After public presentations and a day of interviews, the panel selected the Organograph to receive a monetary prize and an opportunity to further develop the design.

San Jose State University supported the Climate Clock residencies awards through grants from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, and Adobe Foundation. Montalvo Arts Center, 1stACT Silicon Valley, and ZERO1 provided additional support for the project.

Private and philanthropic funding will be needed to develop a full-scale version of the artwork. Estimated costs to build the artwork are in the range of $15 – 20 million.

About the Artists
Geo Homsy is an innovator, scientist, engineer, and technology artist with deep understanding of physics, computation, biology, and robotics. He has collaborated on more than thirty large-scale machine sculpture and technology-based artworks over a period of 23 years. He has also made original contributions in theoretical chemistry, biological computation, secure networks, and spread-spectrum data storage. Current works include biofuels research, guidance navigation and control for aerospace applications, and teaching introductory electronics to artists. Geo holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Chico MacMurtrie is artistic director and founder of Amorphic Robot Works, a collaborative group of artists, engineers, and technicians that use robotic sculpture to animate space and stimulate public dialogue. The Organograph team previously collaborated on numerous works as Amorphic Robot Works including the Totemobile and the Inflatable Architecture series. Artist Chico MacMurtrie has exhibited work throughout the world and has received the support of many notable granting agencies, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation. Many of these projects have poetically raised questions about birth, death, renewal, mechanical vs. organic life, and the resilience of nature within the urban habitat.

Bill Washabaugh has spent a decade blending engineering, science, sculpture, and music. Bill is the founder of Hypersonic Engineering & Design, a firm in NYC working at the intersection of technology and
art. He has designed flight control software for Boeing, music instruments for Bjork, a massive stage show for U2, and is currently completing a new media sculpture for the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bill has a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

About the Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program
The City of San Jose Public Art Program, a division of the San Jose Office of Economic Development, seeks to build community identity by initiating artworks and exhibitions that enliven our community.Through active engagement between the artists and project stakeholders, public art strives to reflect the City’s ethnic diversity, historic richness, and envision its present and future.

About the City of San Jose
From its founding in 1777 as California’s first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley-the world’s leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, work, live, play and learn. For more information, visit

About ZERO1
ZERO1 is where art meets technology to shape the future. As a 21st century arts nonprofit, ZERO1 works with some of the world’s most fertile and creative minds from the fields of art, science, design, architecture, and technology to produce the ZERO1 Biennial, an international showcase of work at the nexus of art and technology. ZERO1 is also the force behind the ZERO1 Garage, where principles of artistic creativity are applied to real world innovation challenges. Part incubator, part research lab, part think tank, the ZERO1 Garage informs strategies for research, development, and creativity. To find out more about ZERO1, visit

About San Jose State University
San Jose State University, Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 32,000 students and 5,700 employees, is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

About Montalvo Arts Center
Now celebrating its centennial year, Montalvo Arts Center is an oasis of culture and nature whose mission is to create and present arts of all types, nurture artists, and use our historic Villa, buildings, and grounds in innovative ways that engage people in the creative process. Located in Silicon Valley’s Saratoga hills, Montalvo occupies a Mediterranean-style Villa, built in 1912 by Senator James Duval Phelan, surrounded by 175 stunning acres, including the campus of our international Lucas Artists Residency Program. Senator Phelan left the villa and grounds to the people of California for the encouragement of art, music, literature and architecture, a mandate that Montalvo has carried forward ever since its founding. For more information about Montalvo Arts Center, call (408) 961-5800 or visit

About the Lucas Artists Residency Program
The Lucas Artists Residency Program, established in 1939-making it the oldest artists residency program west of the Mississippi, and the third oldest in the United States-is a central part of Montalvo’s active fostering of the arts, and an important part of its legacy. It provides for residencies for emerging and mid-career artists active in a variety of disciplines, including the visual, literary, musical, and culinary arts. In October 2004, Montalvo opened the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Programs, a new $10.5-million campus, designed by six teams of artists and architects, comprised of 10 discipline-specific live/work studios and one commons building.

Luise Kaunert Fine Art Consulting specializes in curatorial services, exhibition management and art advisory. Based in Paris and New York, Luise Kaunert represents New York based artist Chico MacMurtrie and has managed exhibition projects in Europe, Asia and America.

For more information, please contact Luise Kaunert:

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