Nashville Library Celebrates Cultural Diversity with Digital Art Concept


This digital art concept was developed to express the cultural diversity of the Southeast Branch Library community. An assemblage of nine Planar Mosaic video tiles, interspersed among 43 backlit LED boxes and arranged across a 37-foot wall space, provides a cutting-edge platform for engaging library patrons.

Nominating Company: Anode, Nashville, Tennessee
Venue: Nashville Public Library – Southeast Branch, Antioch, Tennessee
Project: Digital Art Concept at Southeast Branch Library
Category: Public Spaces

Nashville has become a cultural and ethnic melting pot in the Southeast U.S., with citizens from many countries drawn to the creativity and openness of the vibrant city. This scenario is particularly true of the southeast part of Nashville where one of the city’s newest library branches has opened. Nashville’s leaders recognized the potential of this area and chose it as the site of the new Southeast Branch, giving this diverse community a hub that would bring people together and celebrate both their differences and their shared values. While a fresh, new library could be expected to fulfill this role, the branch’s executives believed that advanced digital technology would be a strong additional asset. They became excited about the new forms of video walls to draw patrons into the library space.

The digital art work installation had to be installed above the library stacks and visible from the main entrance. Ambient and direct sunlight from an adjacent window was a major consideration. To maintain a more artistic aesthetic, all power and video sources had to be hidden. However, the space directly behind the piece is a closed bulkhead. The scale of this installation required 4K content, and the intense fabrication of the physical elements required technology that could be easily installed and adjusted on the fly.

The Planar Mosaic series was a natural fit for the asymmetrical design of this piece. In particular, the ability to mix and match different tile shapes and sizes and easily mount them in different locations was critical to completing this installation. The simple push-in/push-out attachment allowed for quick adjustments to the layout of all components. The Planar Mosaic series also features off-board, rack-mountable power supply modules that could be located away from the video wall. The technology also offered exceptional content handling capability and image quality. Currently, the tiles display 4K video with text messages against a calm, muted background color spanning across all Mosaic tiles. At 700-nit brightness, the content is visible even during the brightest parts of the day.

Stephanie Rodriguez, the library’s branch manager says the installation “draws people into the library and further establishes it as a center of cultural and community activity. The unique style of the installation communicates that libraries are changing and evolving. The unique shape attracts attention and inspires patrons to come in and explore all the library has to offer. And whether the viewer is American, Spanish, Arabic, Ethiopian or Vietnamese, he or she sees themselves reflected in the content, which enhances the sense of community here.”

Anode was nominated for a DSE 2016 APEX Award in the Public Spaces category.

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