Sesamedia + Studio Ju Ju Blog

Putting new technologies to work for creative and community initiatives.

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Posted by on in New Media Arts
Today we begin installation of User Required at Burlington City Arts Center. We are very excited for this show and hope you can join us for the opening this Friday April 12!

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Posted by on in New Media Arts
Firehouse Bell Project: Sneak Preview #3

Through exploring the history and culture of the firehouse bell technology we've learned much about the Ethan Allen Engine Company No 4 or "The Ethans" - one of seven volunteer fire companies in Burlington in the late 1800s.

What is now Burlington City Arts Center was originally home to the Ethans. They moved into the building in 1889 the same year the bell went into use.

Below are striking artifacts from this time: A helmet of the Ethan Allen Engine Co, courtesy of the Burlington Fire Department and from Church Street you can stil see the name of the Ethan's company etched into the stone above what was once the firehouse doors.


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Firehouse Bell Project: Sneak Preview #2

On our first trip up into the bell tower we found a lot of random parts on the level below the belfry. It was a cold windy day so there wasn't a lot of time to think or explore. We were freezing! To compensate I took a lot of pictures. Once safely back in the studio it became clear that one of these parts was significant - it was bell's iron striker. (Thanks to the Smithsonian for digitizing a 1906 Meneely Bell catalog!)

[Above: (top) Meneely Bell Catalog 1906. (bottom) Two bell strikers were found in the bell tower, we took the one that weighed the least (about 90 lbs).]

On our next visit to the tower thanks to a heroic effort by the Burlington City Arts staff we lowered the striker down the hose tower so that it could be brought back to the studio and cleaned up for the installation.

Time to clean the bell striker!

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Today starts our countdown to the opening of the Exhibition User Required at Burlington City Arts Center in Burlington, VT. Our contribution is the The Firehouse Bell Project - a look at the art, science and technology of the firehouse bell that sits atop Burlington City Arts Center. On April 12 the project's gallery installation will open to the public and the research behind the project will be included in the launch of the new online local maker zine, STEAM-e-Zine.

Firehouse Bell Project: Sneak Preview #1

Here's a composite image using original drawings of the firehouse tower renovation in 2002. The drawing of the building is by John Anderson Studio and the drawing of the bell is by Engineering Ventures. We are very grateful to both of these talented local firms for allowing us to use their sketches. Thanks!

We'll announce new posts on the Sesamedia facebook page. Talk soon!

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Hi Friends!
We are currently pulling together research, a gallery installation and a website for the exhibition “User Required” at Burlington City Arts Center this April and May 2013.

We’re focused on the subject of the bell technology that is atop the BCA Center roof, the building was originally built as a firehouse in the late 1880s and the bell served as a community fire alarm. The bell hasn’t rung since about 1950 and there’s a wonderful history of it that’s emerging from our research. We hope to engage the public in imagining a contemporary purpose for the bell to ring again; the gallery installation and its website will invite the public to engage in the conversation. So stay tuned! We’ll be reporting quite a bit about this in the coming weeks and would love your feedback.

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STEAM-e-ZINE is an online publication that explores innovation zones across art, science and technology. Subscribers also receive Vermont Makers updates.