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Murmurations by Susan Narduli

Artwork Location: Level 1, West Atrium

Susan Narduli is an artist and architect who uses technology to create dynamic environments. In creating Murmurations for UPMC Mercy Pavilion she was drawn to a conversation with Dr. José-Alain Sahel concerning how we understand the world through our senses and how they interconnect. For this commission, she chose to explore the perceptual phenomena of synesthesia in which a person experiences one sense through another. For example, someone with synesthesia may see a color when they hear a sound. 

In this artwork, the lobby sounds influence the animated light patterns on the LED panels on the wall behind the information desk. The “ears” and “mind” of the sculpture influence what is seen. Four audio sensors located in the ceiling observe sounds throughout the West Atrium. The sounds are interpreted by a computer algorithm and then transformed into light patterns on the LED panels. 

Listen to sounds in the lobby and notice how they affect the changing colors and patterns. Since the lobby activity is constantly changing, you may never see the same combinations.

In this video, the artwork is influenced by the sound of the machine that cleans the floors – making the LED patterns very active.

"It’s intriguing to create a piece that is a collaboration among a diverse group of people who are momentarily sharing a space, where points of light are a reflection of the ongoing, real-time sounds in the lobby.” - Susan Narduli 

Learn more about Murmurations by Susan Narduli.

Susan Narduli, Murmurations, 2023.  The artwork is a key feature of the West Atrium Lobby.

The artist carefully considered the features of the lobby when selecting the materials and location of Murmurations. Notice how the vertical LED panels of the artwork relate to the ceiling and sound absorbing panel above the information desk. 

This is a closeup image of the LED panels used to create the art installation.

The day before the building opened, the artist (second from left) celebrated the artwork installation with Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa and Dr. José Sahel.