For residents of downtown San Francisco, nightlife just got a whole lot more surreal. Part of a collaboration between sculptor Brian Goggin and conceptual artist Dorka Keehn, the permanent site-specific sculpture known as …And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea… (Caruso’s Dream), (just Caruso's Dream for short) is a sculptural and audiovisual feat that features a chorus of thirteen glass pianos suspended from a residential apartment building, that alight in a sequence that responds to the original recordings of legendary Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso. Our newest doc digs deep into the project's historical roots to explore the inspiration behind the project, as well as the technology bringing it to life.
From self-proclaimed "artist and whimsy technician" Brian Goggin: “The whole piece is inspired by this moment when the opera star Enrico Caruso was awakened by the Great Calamity of April 18, 1906, while he was staying at the Palace Hotel. He did not know if he was awake or still dreaming as he was walking to the window to see the results of the ongoing earthquake.”
As if thirteen glass pianos weren't enough, the artists enlisted CalArts MFA musician and technologist, Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, to "sync" the lights that fill the pianos. When Caruso's original recordings play on an FM station that broadcasts in the area, the pianos light up—resulting in an audiovisual experience for the surrounding San Francisco community.
The $750,000 piece was commissioned by Avalon Bay as part of SF's 1% tax for the arts. The Kenneth Rainin Foundation and Black Rock Arts funded the opening, the latter which also funded Burning Man and has since expanded from desert installations to national public artworks.
Caruso's Dream was unveiled to a masked audience of radio-listeners on February 23, 2014.
Photos courstesy of Michael Rauner