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Triforium (photo courtesy the Triforium Project)

If you’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough, odds are you’ve driven by the Triforium — the hulking, retro-futuristic sculpture on the Northern Edge of downtown — and wondered what it was. Created by the artist Joseph Young in 1975, the six-story public artwork was intended to celebrate a new form of “polyphonoptic” art which synchronized sound and vision. The structure was outfitted with a quartz bell carillon that “was meant to play, loudly, everything from Beethoven to the Bee Gees,” and 1,494 multicolored glass cubes that would light up in response to the music. Plagued with technical issues and public criticism, the Triforium fell into a state of disrepair and has been out of commission for decades.

Until now. Beginning this Friday, the Triforium will be brought back to life for three evenings of performance. Organized by Claire L. Evans and Jona Bechtolt of 5 Every Day and YACHT, and hosted by Tom Carroll of Tom Explores Los Angeles, Triforium Fridays invites contemporary musicians and performers to reinterpret Young’s far-out vision. Although the carillon and computer have been removed, the organizers were able to work with the original software to emulate the original system, allowing them to sync the live music with new LED lights. Friday’s event will feature performances from musical dynamo and beatboxer Reggie Watts, composer and musician Jherek Bischoff, the always entrancing Bob Baker Marionettes, and a set from Dublab DJs. The Institute for Art + Olfaction will be providing scent activations, and the whole thing will begin with original compositions commissioned specifically for the event from a range of Angeleno musicians. Free with RSVP.

When: Friday, October 19; Friday, October 26; Friday, November 2, 6–10pm nightly
Where: Fletcher Bowron Square (Temple & Main Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at Triforium.la.

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.

One reply on “A Peculiar Los Angeles Sculpture Is Brought Back to Life After Decades”

  1. The triforium was reactivated about 10 years ago by a neighborhood group of residents who bypassed the old electronics and connected an iPod to the lights, then ran it now and then for the community. A small budget for reactivation was provided by the City Council. It has sat unused since then but it should be pointed out that this is not the first attempt to revive it.

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