Reintroducing San Jose Semaphore – Public Art at Adobe San Jose

At Adobe, art and creativity are ingrained in the company’s DNA, so I’m excited to share the re-launching of San Jose Semaphore, a major public artwork by noted digital artist Ben Rubin, on display at Adobe’s San Jose headquarters. On Thursday, October 18 at twilight, four 10-foot high disks on top of the 17th floor of Adobe’s Almaden Tower will begin transmitting a new coded message.

San Jose Semaphore was first introduced in 2006 and based on the semaphore telegraph system developed in the 18th century. Commissioned by Adobe and the City of San Jose, it features LED-lit disks, which rotate to display a series of simple geometric symbols that spell out a complex coded message. Rubin created the artwork’s coded message using algorithms similar to those used in World War II-era cryptography. San Jose Semaphore’s initial coded message was deciphered later that year by two San Jose area research scientists, who revealed the encrypted message to be the complete text to Thomas Pynchon’s 1966 novella, The Crying of Lot 49.

Adobe San Jose

We’re passionate about helping to make Silicon Valley a world class creative community, which is why we have renewed the artwork, including a restoration of the work’s LED light system. San Jose Semaphore is an example of how businesses and public arts organizations can work together to enhance the urban experience, injecting creativity and new energy into areas where people work and live. Adobe’s commitment to the arts can be seen through art on display in and around our offices, as well as throughout our local communities. In 2010, Adobe sponsored eCLOUD, the sparkling chandelier-like art installation in between gates 22 and 23 in the North Concourse concession area of San Jose International airport.

For San Jose Semaphore, artist Ben Rubin has developed a new code and challenged the public to a code-breaking competition, sponsored by Adobe. Check out the San Jose Semaphore website to learn more about the project and challenge. Get your creative thinking caps on and happy solving.