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Sending Signals

Brad Aldridge

donated to the city of Berkeley by: UC Berkeley Chancellor's Community Parnership Fund

I’m interested in the visual experience: how we see and what we see around us, close up and far away.  My interest in vision comes from my own poor eyesight, and my fascination with theater and magic tricks.  This background has helped me realize how eyes are delicate, vulnerable things that can be manipulated and fooled quite simply.  Our highly visual culture assumes that what our eyes project to our brains is an infallible version of reality.  I like to question the veracity of vision and explore the relativity of sight in my work. 
My utility box design is curious about how a traffic signal works and how our cities hide or reveal the “machinery” that runs public space.  The utility box is a prevalent structure near every intersection in Berkeley, yet we don’t notice them in our environment as we would a tree, a building, or even a street sign.  I met an engineer who opened the box up for me to photograph, and showed me how it worked.  The amount of wires, fuses, circuits, and aging computer equipment that make this traffic signal work made me think of the roots, branches, and strata that make nature work.  On the outside of the box I graphically represented sections of the hidden equipment and enhanced other parts to create a link between the technological and the natural. 

View the list of Streets Alive! boxes.

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