Drawing It Out at Firebrand Saints, Opening This Week

Proprietor Gary Strack (Central Square, Enormous Room) flips the switch at Firebrand Saints from “soft open” to fully open this week, giving public access to the bar’s unique gallery of techno-art. Strack collaborated with digitally minded MIT artists as well as spray-paint wielding graffiti artists to design the space, which means that while dining on items from an ever-changing market menu of rotisserie meats (porchetta and French dip sandwiches; half a spit-roasted chicken), your eyes can feast on some high-concept visuals. We got the lowdown on the design features from Strack, which we’ve broken down for you below.

Graffiti Wall by various artists
One exterior wall at Strack’s two-story Central Square den, Central Kitchen and Enormous Room, has been a legal graffiti palette for years offering street artists from Swoon to Shepard Fairey a scratch pad. At FbS, Strack brings the graffiti indoors, inviting traveling artists to build on what’s already there without collaborating with previous artists — meaning that every few days or weeks we could see another iteration entirely. “We had the idea of doing these launches each time the wall changed, but sometimes the artists will come to town for 24 hours, do their work, and be gone. None of these guys will ever really be ‘finished,'” says Strack.

TVs by Sosolimited
“TVs are a necessary evil in any bar space,” says Strack. Instead of looking for a way to hide the picture tube when not in use, he invited Sosolimited, an art and technology studio based at MIT, to use their imaginations with one caveat: The TVs had to work. The result is a constant live feed that reads various modes of the television stream — so you can watch the game on the actual TV or you can read the play-by-play float across other screens in a never-ending digital poem. The feed changes every several seconds, offering what Strack calls a “constant evolution piece.”

Google Street Search piece by Theo Watson and Emily Gobeille
These light drawings sketch out points discovered in a Google street search (currently set to Cambridge, Tokyo, and Barcelona) and give patrons an endless wave of new art to discover with each passing bite. Just as your eyes start to pinpoint the outlines of a building or the edge of a street corner, the laser-lights dancing along the wall behind the host-stand drift away to make room for an entirely new, anonymous streetscape. “We didn’t want anything here to be static,” says Strack.