News | City of San José


Elisabeth Handler, Head of Public Information, Office of Economic Development
408-535-8168; [email protected]

San José welcomes Sonic Runway back to City Hall on November 5, 2021
Illuminated sound art installation back by popular demand

SAN JOSE, California (October 29, 2021) – The Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs of San José (OEDCA) announces the return of Sonic Runway to City Hall Plaza in November for a multi-year installation until 2028. This is the second appearance of the work to San José. It was installed for the first time at the Town Hall from November 3, 2017 to March 9, 2018, as part of the Playa à Paseo partnership between OEDCA and Burning Man Project. It is back thanks to the immense popularity of the work.

The opening of the modernized facility will be celebrated on Friday, November 5, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 200 East Santa Clara Street, between Fourth and Sixth Streets. The opening event will include the team of artists, performances and food trucks.

“The pandemic has challenged city life in many ways, but with the return of Sonic Runway to City Hall Plaza, our determination to cherish the joy of community and the vibrancy of our downtown through art audience remains strong, ”said the mayor of San José, Sam. Liccardo. “I thank our artist community for their continued commitment to sharing art that all San Joseans can enjoy.”

Created by a team of artists including lead artist Rob Jensen, co-director Warren Trezevant, and designed by Stockhausen, Sonic Runway is a light art installation that visualizes the speed of sound. The live audio input is converted into intricate light patterns that radiate through a hallway of 25 arches, spanning 432 feet at the speed of sound, so sound and lights are in sync.

When he was in San José three years ago, Sonic Runway drew crowds every night and has become a popular gathering place for San José residents of all ages and backgrounds, and a destination for visitors to the entire San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Due to its popularity, the installation has been extended for two months. In the four months of his first visit to San José, Sonic Runway drew around 1.2 million visits.

“Sonic Runway exemplifies the power of public art to inspire and bring people together to celebrate creativity and express theirs,” said Kerry Adams Hapner, Director of Cultural Affairs.

In addition to providing a captivating experience for visitors to City Hall Plaza, Sonic Runway will once again serve as a canvas for the arts and events such as live and recorded musical performances, fashion shows, videos and photographs, and will appear in countless selfies.

By bringing Sonic Runway back to Town Hall, the artists have made some updates to the design. The new facility will match the approximate footprint of the previous temporary facility in City Hall Square, spanning 432 feet along the sidewalk of East Santa Clara Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets. The long-term design consists of weighted steel baseplates for the arches, which have a low profile beveled edge that makes it easier to move between the arches for pedestrians, wheelchairs and bicycles. The resulting look is sleek and clean, harmonizing with the modern architecture of the Town Hall buildings.

As part of the new version, the team of artists has developed new state-of-the-art light patterns and will regularly update the light and sound programming, allowing the public to live new experiences continuously. The new design includes a professional-grade sound system, increasing its appeal to multidisciplinary artists as well as the general public. The new design includes audio inputs at both ends of the track, allowing artists to plug in at either end and trigger the light patterns with their music back and forth. OEDCA will produce activation events throughout the duration of Sonic Runway’s installation at City Hall to showcase local creative talent and provide a unique artistic experience for artists and audiences alike.

About the city of San José
With over one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the country. San José’s transformation into a center of global innovation has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets out a vision and a comprehensive roadmap to guide the City’s planned growth through 2040.

About the Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs of the City of San José
The Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs is the City’s main agency for supporting and promoting the development of a rich artistic and cultural environment for the million inhabitants of this diverse city, its workers who live in neighboring communities. and its many visitors. It promotes cultural development through cultural funding programs, cultural workforce development, special event services and public art. For more information, visit

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About Elaine Morales

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