Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower Beacon Will Stand as Giant Mood Ring

Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower Beacon Will Stand as Giant Mood Ring
Arts & Culture

Carnegie Museum of Art will tap six-story weather beacon to reflect responses to the city's shared images on Instagram

Emma Hutchings
  • 11 february 2015

In the lead-up to New York-based French artist Antoine Catala’s new exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the museum will be using Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower as a giant mood ring. The tower’s weather beacon will reflect responses to the city’s shared images on Instagram by changing colors in real-time to convey sentiment changes.

Antoine Catala: Distant Feel is the artist’s first solo U.S. museum exhibition, opening on February 14th. A new body of work will be presented, including sculpture, photography and video. These invite visitors to reflect on how images make them feel, especially as people see more of them every day through internet-connected devices.

The exhibition aims to address the way that images provoke emotion as they travel virtual and physical distances via the internet. The project has been co-commissioned by the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

From February 11th to 13th, the tower’s beacon will light up as the region’s Instagram commentary is analyzed to see whether is mostly positive or negative. Using two competing colors, green and red, the current levels of positivity and negativity will be displayed in real-time as sentiment changes.

Those interested in learning more about the giant mood ring can visit a dedicated website to view a visual representation of the analysis, a timeline of Pittsburgh Instagram images, and more information about Catala’s Distant Feel.


The Instagram images are updated to represent a sample of those with the most positive and negative commentary in the past 30 seconds, including a score so you can track how each has been rated by their algorithms. You can also get involved by following the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Instagram feed and tagging your photos with #cmoa and #distantfeel to join the online conversation. Those in the Pittsburgh region who comment will be able to affect the color of the beacon.

Carnegie Museum of Art

Lead image: David Brossard | CC | Image altered

+Antoine Catala
+Carnegie Museum of Art
+Hillman Photography Initiative
+New Museum of Contemporary Art

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