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Market Square to Turn into Magical Wonderland Tonight

North American debut of the interactive video and sound installation “Congregation” will light up downtown.


In terms of art, Pittsburghers might say that 2013 was the year of the duck — that giant yellow floating device taking up long-term residence in your profile or cover photo. The North American debut of “The Rubber Duck Project,” which launched the 2013 Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, sure was a big one.

But what will 2014 stand for?

Well, firsts still are on the rise: The premiere of the Market Square Public Art Program brings U.K.-based media art duo KMA’s interactive work to downtown Pittsburgh. Congregation is a kinetic video and sound installation that’ll be smack in the middle of Market Square, focusing on individual and collective needs to believe by revealing your interactions with each other and the created environment.


With all the lights, you can’t miss it. Walk, jump, skip, worm your way through it. It’s OK; KMA wants you to frolic. You essentially become part of a show you may never forget.

What makes the installation a true treat? This is the work’s second step outside of the UK, having been on display in China for 2010 and 2012 events.


If that and the thought of making new friends downtown doesn’t give you a warm, tingly feeling inside, it should.


Check out this video, then see the real deal at dusk tomorrow through March 16. Tell us what you think. What will we dub 2014? The Year of the Magical Frolic?*

*Winter has made us deliriously stir-crazy

— Krystal Hare


#Data: Pittsburgh is not the coldest, most miserable place on earth


As stated above, this brutal, uncaring winter has made us all a bit nuts. However, despite the neverending maelstrom of snow, slush and ice that has battered against our collective soul over the past month, Pittsburgh is in fact not the coldest, most-miserable place in the United States. There’s data to prove it.

Design blog Kellegous recently cooked up a slick infographic that charts the “pleasant days” of U.S. cities. The infographic is based on 23 years of National Weather Service data and defines a pleasant day as … (*deep breath*) ... “mean temperature was between (55° F and 75° F), the minimum temperature was above 45° F, the maximum temperature was below 85° F and there was no significant precipitation or snow depth.”

Pittsburgh was pleasant an average of 64 days a year. That’s about middle-of-the-road miserable.

Compare that to Los Angeles’ best-in-class 183 pleasant days a year and you will be perusing Kayak for one-way tickets in no time.


#Art: New union for street performers aims to boost buskers


The Logic of Collective … busking? A new group headquartered in East Liberty bills itself as a special-interest group for street performers — or “buskers,” to borrow a more old-fashioned term.

The Busker Street Union
promotes itself as a way for street performers to connect with business owners, promising “free performance options” for companies in southwestern Pennsylvania.

While there may be something distinctly Old World about the idea of street performers banding together, the group’s rationale is decidedly forward-thinking. The Busker Street Union argues on its website that street performers attract foot traffic and attention, raising businesses’ bottom lines.

— Gideon Bradshaw

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