A 25-foot-tall artwork on the waterfront in San Francisco is offering visitors an unexpected view – a live look inside the Israeli city of Haifa, 7,344 miles away.
The bicontinental project, dubbed “Point of View,” was unveiled last month at Pier 27 as part of a three-year plan to connect the sister cities of Haifa and San Francisco through public art.
Shlomi Kofman, the Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, was joined by San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell and Haifa’s city engineer, Ariel Waterman, for the public unveiling of the project.
The interactive installation involves two identical lighthouse-esque towers topped by a 360 degree video camera – one each in the ports of San Francisco and Haifa. A customized periscope integrated into the tower lets visitors view a live feed of the other’s city, thousands of miles across the ocean.
Anyone walking along the pier can discover and connect with the different points of view revealed by the towers. Some might even notice similar characteristics between the two port cities.
Haifa, located along the Mediterranean in north of Israel, is 10 hours ahead of San Francisco. Visitors looking to see Haifa’s city life by day will have to look into the periscope at night.
The San Francisco-Haifa Sister City Committee selected Israeli experience designer Saron Paz to collaborate with San Francisco artist Matthew Passmore on the design.
The Port, @sfac, @MarkFarrellSF and @IsraelinSF unveiled “Point of View”, a towering “lighthouse” with a customized periscope showing live views of #SF and our #sisterport Haifa, Israel. The sculpture will be at Pier 27 thru May 31, 2019. #sfport #art #haifaport pic.twitter.com/TReiV4y86X
— SF Port (@SFPort) May 31, 2018
Passmore built the first tower locally at MoreLab, his studio in West Oakland, before sending off plans for the replica to be built by a team in Haifa. The periscope was custom-built by Paz.
“The intent is to create a contemporary, and in this case a technological, connection between the people of Haifa and the people of San Francisco,” Passmore told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Paz, a Haifa-native who holds design degrees from both Israeli and Dutch universities, currently lives and works in Tel Aviv where he designs experiences of all kinds. He saw “Point of View” as a “reimagining of the experiential essence of the twin city idea,” according to The Jewish News of Northern California.
The project was made possible by the San Francisco Arts Commission, Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest and the Port of San Francisco. Funding for the project in San Francisco and Haifa was provided by the San Francisco-Haifa Sister City Committee, as well as an initial contribution from former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
“Point of View” is dedicated to the memory of Lee, who supported the cultural exchange between the two cities in both the art and technology sectors.
“Point of View” is open for viewing daily, day or night. It will remain in place until May 2019.