After two months twiddling our thumbs, the painting of a series of murals depicting the "Birthplace of Virtual Reality" in the Water St. Parking Ramp next to Boscov's, the Dept of Public Art is ready for volunteers to tackle several jobs. "We are looking for all kinds of help, from painting stairs to cutting stencils, to advanced air brush technique," says Shawna "Pepper" Stevenson of the DPA. The weekends of Sept 13-14 and 27-28th and another weekend in October are designated although mural painting may continue on other days. Please sign up to volunteer here www.tinyurl.com/DPAVolunteers.
The Project, which has received funding from the Chenango Co. Arts Council and the Hoyt Foundation, documents the unique history of this location in Binghamton where the "building blocks of virtual reality" were invented, according to Susan Sherwood of the Center for Technology and Innovation, who researched the site.
1. The Bundy Manufacturing Co. (1893-1906) stood at 183-185 Water St., and became the International Time Recording Co (1906-7) and eventually IBM, which, of course, manufactured some of the first computers.
2. The Automatic Musical Co. (1907-14) took over the site to manufacture player pianos, which were robotic innovations.
3. Ed Link, famously, was sitting on the organ bellows at his father’s Link Piano Co. (1914-1933) and got the idea for the Link Flight Simulators (1929, patented 1931) and started Link Aviation and Flying School in that location (1929-34). The Link “blue box” trained WWII pilots.
4. After the devastating floods in 1935 and ’36 the building was not useable and in the late 60’s the Parking Ramp was built in two sections. The American Dance Asylum celebrated the architecture with several performances of the Parking Ramp Dance, which pioneered multi media, video feedback, and dance performances (1978, 1980, 1981, 1984).
COMPUTERS + ROBOTICS + SIMULATION + VIDEO FEEDBACK = VIRTUAL REALITY!!
Each level of the ramp will document the history and development of the innovative technologies that were created on this one site.
The Department of Public Art is a group of local citizens who are promoting public art; it is an action group under the umbrella of the Center for Gender, Art, and Culture. Donations are needed to further this and other projects. Use the donation button at www.binghamtonbridge.org (above).