Photos and video by Brian Addison.
In the mad rush of downtown living, Julia Huang, the CEO of interTrend Communications, has one wish: for people to slow down a bit. It’s the dream of every business owner but Huang’s wish is different because her business doesn’t depend on foot traffic—but she truly believes community does.
Following last year’s installation of a massive piece of art by resident artists Tang Qing Nian and Jeffrey Ma honoring the Year of the Rooster, interTrend Communications has once again transformed its ground floor space of the Psychic Temple (228 E Broadway) into a piece art—this year’s interactive—honoring the Chinese New Year.
Set to debut formally on February 13, the installation honors the Year of the Dog was made possible through a partnership with Taiwan-based RUMU Innovation, which developed an artificial intelligence platform specifically for the project.
As passersby step in front of the building, they become the “owners” digitally re-created, abstract dog figures—complete with tricks, personalities, and interactivity.
“The point is to get people to pause, to slow down for a second,” said Julia Huang, CEO of interTrend. “From the beginning, the most important component of our Lunar New Year installation was community interaction—so we decided to take that to a new level.”
The multimedia designers installed a reader just above the edge of Psychic Temple’s north-facing facade and, as the reader “sees” someone, it marks them, begins to track them on a massive computer-to-LED-screen contraption behind the scenes [pictured above], and, here’s the fun part, attaches a digital dog to them that will follow them, play with them, and make their day a bit more happy.
“There were many technical challenges since it involved unknown variables at the street level, but I’m happy to see that the result is mesmerizing display of evolving colors,” Huang said.
On top of that, each hour on the hour, the installation will enact a show that includes music, dancing dogs, and the iconic imagery of Long Beach (including the soon-to-be new Gerald Desmond Bridge).
The Psychic Temple is located at 228 E Broadway in DTLB.
Patrons are encouraged to share pictures or videos of their interaction with the Year of the Dog installation on social media with (hashtag) #gofundog. For every unique hashtag shared, interTrend will donate $1 to Long Beach Mayor’s Fund for Education up to $10,000. A special giveaway is also planned during the months that the installation is activated. Specific instruction will be at the location and on Intertrend’s social media: Instagram (@intertrend) and Facebook (@intertrend.communications). The installation will be officially activated on February 13.
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