Look for five interactive copper panels in and around the Surrey Arts Centre that spells out words in frost.

Alan Storey - Out of Thin Air


Artist: Alan Storey
Location: Surrey Arts Centre (13750 88 Avenue)
Category: Civic collection
Year: 2004

About Out of Thin Air

This work consists of five interactive copper panels (two inside and three outside at each entrance) that respond to changes in time and passing viewers. It uses a refrigeration unit to spell out words and images in frost. The word “dream” on one panel appears in many languages including Punjabi, Hindi, Coast Salish, English and French.

Another panel features phrases associated with our five senses. Of the panels at the two entrances, one reveals images related to Bear Creek Park, while the other set references the building’s architectural profiles. The installation was designed in cooperation with members of the Surrey Arts Centre’s Architectural Consulting Team during the Centre’s redevelopment.

More on Out of Thin Air

About the Artist

Alan Storey has become widely known for “site-sensitive” public art projects. He uses new technologies and materials in innovative ways that depend to a great extent on the interactions of people passing by. His exhibition-based work has included:

  • a drawing machine that inscribed words as it navigated the walls of Vancouver’s Or Gallery (1984);
  • a small vehicle dragging five pens across a stretched canvas at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (1989);
  • an early website through which visitors could guide a drawing machine in Indiana (1995);
  • and publicly located works of art using objects like elevator cars, a pendulum, a boardwalk and a bicycle.