Posts Tagged ‘architexture’
“Dollhouse Desert”, a collaboration between Karl Baumann, Nicolette G.D and I, was screened last week at the State of the Arts 2013: the Future of Fulldome Festival. The host was the Vortex Immersive Media Dome at L.A. Center Studios. This is my first excursion into the fulldome format, and I found it incredibly fun and challenging.
The unconventional orientation of the spectators translates into a whole new vocabulary for camera motion and field of view. Fulldome is a medium that can both create the visceral impression of swallowing the viewer and offer moments of poetic stillness. “Dollhouse Desert” immerses the spectactor in a surreal mental landscape in which claustrophobia and the call of the void become complimentary affective states that seamlessly alternate.
Projection mapping is an evolving artform that so far has been mostly an insider phenomenon within the VJing and electronic festival scene, in spite of roots in the longstanding medium of theatrical design and the growing number of competitions and conferences that are dedicated to it (one the most prestigious being the annual Mapping Festival in Geneva). It is frequently paired with DJ acts or used as a promotional gimmick for slick ad campaigns. The medium achieves aesthetic effects, however, whose innovation and significance have not yet been adequately critically adressed. What is the future of projection mapping’s cultural impact? With its knack for transforming irregular surfaces into surreal architectures, it speaks to a new vision of urbanism and the city, as a polymorphous and playful space justified by its spectacular ambiance as much as by its functional value. If we imagine a daily life framed by these dynamic monumental sculptures, what different kinds of cognitive and emotional sensibilities will we see emerging?
Beijing’s Aquatic Center constructed for the 2008 Olympics, aptly nicknamed the “Water Cube”, is a neo-Baroque folly whose skin consists of inflatable PVC bubbles wired with LEDs. As this video attests, the Water Cube emerges from the cityscape as a glowing, perpetually morphing mirage, casually radiating wonder amidst the more ordinary architecture of streetlights, trees, and apartment buildings. It is a hybrid entity that is both media and urban object – a 3 dimensional LED wall transformed into a building, or a gigantic inflatable light art installation put to public use. The Water Cube also participates in a neon aesthetic that has transformed the nighttime urban landscape from Vegas to Burning Man, to Wong Kar Wai’s movies, returning us to the industrial fascination for artificial lighting, recalling the phantasmagoria of the Electricity Pavillion at the 1900 World Fair. To what future avatar of the city does the Water Cube point to? The city as a topography of dimensional live, reactive, interactive wallpaper? An erasure of shape, the evaporation of mass into glittering, diaphanous texture? What is life in the Water Cube – a dream, a journey into hallucinatory spaces, a fairy tale, a series of sensorial electrocutions, a diversion, a hypnotic well?
In the vein of (immobile) light and space artists from earlier decades such as Dan Flavin or Robert Irwin, Licht makes sculpture from light and shadow. One can imagine an interactive variant where the play of bright, dim and dark is crowd-sourced by an online community, or algorithmically indexed to sensor information measuring the trajectories or body data of the visitors. Or offering a counterpoint to the natural time outside. In any case, presenting new expressive possibilities for data visualization.
The SOUND club in Phuket, Thailand, features architecture that brings a literal meaning to the term immersive. With nothing but round angles, pod-like seating arrangements, curvy corridors and dreamy, shiny, deep blue surfaces, the club recreates a surreal aquarium atmosphere. One can only imagine the synesthetic possibilities if a DJ were to play minimal dubstep, ambient, or deep house. Club architecture is one of many sites of themed entertainment / art environments where the affective potentialities of space are being experimented with and explored. The hybrid nature of clubs as venues for both social and artistic enjoyment – the two functions brought together in a sensual, hedonistic spirit that transforms both the experience of the art and the experience of others – makes them fascinating grounds for architectural experimentation, bringing us back to a Vidler-like (The Architectural Uncanny) notion of architecture as the design of different kinds of in-habiting, of being in space.
Will be projecting 3D animation on a tower at Rhythm and Visions, a live cinema event featuring audiovisual collective D-Fuse
I will be projecting Nano Flow on the tower of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts building, a stereoscopic 3D animation visualizing a flow of nanobots as hybrids between machines, jewels and single cell organisms. The event will also feature audiovisual collective D-Fuse, artists, VJs and DJs Scott Pagano, Brian King, Trifonic, Brian LeBarton and MB Gordy.
The bouncy 3D labyrinth with its electrocuted fuzzy fauna continues to be built…in stereo! A prototype arch and its puzzled subject pose for the game engine camera.
Wish Come True, Luminato Festival, Toronto, June 2010
FriendsWithYou is an art collective based in Miami that in addition to creating a wildly successful line of designer vinyl toys, creates large-scale inflatable toy environments. Rainbow City in Miami and Wish Come True in Toronto stand as fairy-tale epitomes of the fantastically cute and adorable, offering extreme experiences in curves and bounciness for buoyant spirits of all ages. Bringing the toy to the realm of the gargantuan, built on the social scale of the city, the art of FriendsWithYou is more than aesthetically overwhelming in its impact, it also acts as a sort of emotional and collective catharsis for the visitors, coercing them into a state of cuddliness and beatific joy. The collective dubs themselves the pioneers of a “happy movement”.
“The individual structures are simple, minimal forms that borrow aesthetics from toy- like geometry and design and tower over guests, as each element’s height ranges from ten to forty feet. By dwarfing the audience, the totemic pieces trigger a sense of reverence, similar to the visual of a monolithic monument. During interaction, the inflated sculptures “embrace” visitors, while repetitive sound elements further enhance the sensory experience.The overall installation creates a surreal landscape of psychedelic scenery intended to simultaneously provoke a religious and childlike awareness.” (friendswithyou.com)
Rainbow City, Miami, November 2010
original concept art for Disney’s Tomorrowland
Scott Bukatman’s argument about Disneyland’s cyborg relationship to technology echoes Ndalianis’ discussion of the (neo)baroque aesthetic of spatial interaction, in the sense that both join in a phenomenological regime where the subject fuses with an exterior, with an object – whether the animatronic interface of Disneyland or a painted bas-relief that tricks the viewer into seeing it as an extruded surface – in a overflow of “kinetic, sensory pleasure” (Bukatman).
the Grand Opening of Fantasyland, 1955
Both the baroque object/ornament and the theme park (which might be thought of as a baroque effect multiplied by technology) allow “the body (to) penetrate impossible spaces” (Bukatman), or in Ndalianis’ words, to create “co-extensive space – a space that illusionistically connects with and infinitely extends from our own”. This process of fusion between the internal space of the subject and the inanimate exteriority of the technological or architectural apparatus is read by both Bukatman and Ndalianis as a kind of sensual and affective jouissance, a pleasure that derives from the subject exceeding the boundaries of the “normal” body to find a new kind of virtual embodiment in a multiplicity of outside spaces. In a movement that molds itself to the machinery of the baroque aesthetic, the baroque subject is transformed, disarticulated and dispersed alongside forking paths of attention and absorption, the sense of self “becoming a system of a labyrinth, which, by means of mobile synthesis, stretches itself out in a realm of glittering movement and color” (to re-contextualize Focillon’s beautiful phrase).
Blade Runner…a cyberpunk icon
It is interesting that this same effect proper to the baroque also seems to apply to Bukatman’s interpretation of cyberpunk as an ocular regime governed by a sense of ambiguity as to whether the eye is subjective or objective/inanimate/machine. Not surprisingly, the intimate pervasiveness characteristic of cyberpunk technology (and of our own contemporary technological experience) can be witnessed to correspond with a resurgence in a taste for and consumption of the baroque, if one is to judge by the popularity of theme parks and themed urbanity – the baroque might be the missing puzzle piece in understanding contemporary audiences relationship to technology and the (ongoing?) process of cyborgification whereby individuality or consciousness becomes transmediated across different platforms.
18th century artist Giovanni Piranesi’s baroque rendition of Rome...
This liquification of the self into a riot of sensation, to go back to Focillon’s analysis of the baroque, also arguably applies to our experience of the attraction (and the amusement parks from which Disneyland is descended). Though it is common to think about attractions in terms of theme parks, and of seeing Disneyland as a kind of terminal incarnation of the principle of the attraction, Disneyland’s totalizing space and monolithically integrated design actually differs significantly from other historical experiences of attractions, such as amusement parks, pleasure gardens, fairs, etc…In which case Margaret King’s idealistic description of the theme park as a “stage based on architectural symbols for stylized, romanticized human interaction” might be read proscriptively or nostalgically…
and more virtuoso inventiveness using Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 as a theme park 3D modeling environment!
Cakeland by Scott Hove: celebration of the artificial, of anxiety, delectability and beauty in danger
Hove’s work is unparalleled in his manner of viscerally soliciting contradictory emotions, both reptilian in their simplicity and existentially complex. You feel through the ramifications of the pieces rather than think through them: analysis through affect, perhaps a perennial goal of art and realized in Hove’s work with almost surgical precision.
interactive VR panorama: click on it to explore Cakeland!
from Scott Hove’s website mshove.com:
Cakeland is a series of sculptures and installations resembling perfect delicious cakes– wall mounted, hanging and standing– and walk-through cake environments complete with their own lighting. The sculptures have all of the appeal of the best cake you have ever tasted, but can never be eaten. The nature of edible cake is fleeting, lasting only as long as the brief celebration it was made for. These cakes last as long as the artist or society have the wherewithal to preserve them. Being such a destination of beauty, Cakeland requires that it be equipped with its own defense, because the reality of beauty and perfection is that people want to possess it. The sculptures, with their display of beauty and potential for satisfaction, lure the viewer into a sense of anticipation. The viewer will slowly notice that Cakeland contains defensive elements, not immediately seen, that create a sense of anxiety and fear. This in turn creates a visual and emotional resonance that is intended to represent what we all have to deal with in our lives everyday… the hunt for satisfaction, and the anxiety that we won’t get it. Cakeland is also a celebration of the artificial, and acknowledges our tendency to embrace the artificial in order to feel safe or receive emotional gratification. Cakeland also can serve as an analogue for the search for temporal love; the experience can be incredibly sweet and indulgent, punctuated by moments of insecurity and terror.
The sculptures are formed using carvable rigid polyurethane foam and plywood. The installations are constructed of cardboard, plywood, and any found object that has a suitable form. They are frosted with a variety of acrylic media, using traditional cake decorating tools, and accessorized with fake fruit and other objects found in stores or on the street.
The box will be covered in rich (probably pink, as you might have guessed) fabric and the video projected will be in stereo! The project hopefully should be finished by Xmas…
A blend of absurdist dadaist humor, a popcorn screwball low-brow low-budget aesthetic, fantasmic soiled candy-colored space design (including a spaceship moded like a glowing circus tent) and 80s synth rock, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is oxymoronic hybrid of film genres, gleefully mashing up science fiction, horror and the amusement park.
conceptual map for a short paper for Henry Jenkins’ class on medium specificity about peripheral, “toy” media such as cabinets of curiosities and the phantasmagoria, as well as their modern descendants, media phenomena that lack the specificity and institutional discourse granted cinema or even games, but that have played and continue to play a historical role in multiplying the terrain of technological, spiritual and aesthetic experience.
Thinking about “Public Interactives” implies thinking about interactivity as an activity that occurs preeminently in space, and more specifically, in a locale.
Ludologists tend to understand interactivity as a product of systems, an interlocking mechanism of a series of actions performed by the player in response to a set of rules, whether these are the implicit logic of a game of tag or the constraints built into the virtual environment of World of Warcraft. Rules constitute both allowances and boundaries. They channel a flow of movement that keeps the game in motion, but that also demarcates possible actions from impossible ones. This flow has been characterized as the feeling of irrepressible rightness that sometimes accompanies the accomplishment of procedure (Salen and Zimmerman, 2004); “ludos”, to reprise Roger Caillois’s term for this type of rule-based play, is always spatially and temporally choreographed.
Interactive systems also seem to work best when they strike a sort of golden mean with the player: neither too difficult (which would lead to frustration) nor too predictable (which would lead to boredom). Interestingly, frustration and boredom are emotions that express stasis: they are stoppers of flow, they end the interaction. Emotional momentum, on the other hand, sustains play, and expresses itself in a feeling of elation, control, expectation, curiosity.
Not coincidentally, many games, including digital ones, place momentum at the core of their gameplay – whether kicking a ball across a field in soccer or sliding down a series of icy chutes in Mario. The emotional consequences of physical or virtual movement initiate a feedback loop that is self-sustaining, while the player’s struggle for control gives a shape or a purpose to this experience of free motion, thus prolonging it. In this perspective, the systems-oriented view of games is already a view that places kinetics – the study of “bodies in motion” – at the center of the definition of interactivity.
Kinetics is about ambulation: movement through space. Systems and spaces are surprisingly symmetrical concepts that allow different kinds of metaphorical transformations into each other; the popularity of using architectural terms to define software structure testifies to this.
Systems are defined by an operational terrain constituted by logical connectors that set up the permissibility of certain actions as opposed to others. Actions are open or closed depending on coextensive conditions articulated in discrete statements. In a similar way, spaces are built out of jointed negative and positive spaces that permit or restrict passage. Space has its own logical statements in connectors such as corridors, bridges, paths, conditional spaces such as balconies, mezzanines and rooftops, logic gates such as doors and windows. This makes the kinetics of a system and the kinetics of space strikingly similar.
Moreover, for the player / ambulator, navigation requires a certain prescience or foreknowledge about the system or space’s hidden topology. In negotiating a system a player struggles to acquire a degree of foresight in order to map out subsequent moves and plan ahead; correspondingly, the visitor of a space finds the view equally revealed and obstructed by her own singular perspective. Game studies scholar and designer Steffen P. Walz points to the interactivity inherent in spatial experience – an experience of point of view and obscured typology – in his discussion of architectural kinetics: “The way we move through a designed environment is responsible for our expectations of that environment. Thanks to material and immaterial emphases and the ordering of interior and exterior space, movement affects, shocks or surprises us, reveals secrets, and most importantly, asks us to actively participate in a space intellectually, physically, and relationally” (Walz 2010:30).
shots from a playtest of my installation, Almost Everything Can And Shall Be Cut – a next iteration will involve layering the plastic sheeting to produce stereoscopic effects when the second channel video is projected. For the first video displayed on the monitor, I’m thinking of setting up the plastic tent in a stairwell.
Torus is a bouncing castle, an inflatable tunnel, a crawl space to rest and socialize, and a novel. After enjoying the buoyant properties of the platform at the center of the structure, revelers enter the darkly glowing, semi-translucent tunnel that circles the ring. Comfortably wide, and yet not large enough to allow you to stand up straight, the tunnel is a tautological maze that amusingly, gently disorients. Its elastic, squeaky walls have the consistency of a balloon and make for interesting reclining, lounging, splaying and contortion of limbs. Strangers meet as they crawl or wiggle through the tunnel: talk, experimentally intertwine, explore the space together. A system of fans keeps the air of the labyrinth adequately fresh and oxygenated.
The secret of Torus is in the speakers embedded in its walls: the tunnel is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant broadcasts a section of a short novel narrated by the novel’s protagonist. Like in one of Borges’ fantastical stories, the novel has neither beginning nor end – it is literally a circle!
The torus itself is a geometrical object with fascinating psychological properties…sound travels elliptically through it, allowing visitors to experience the ambiance rather than the letter of the novel.
A Photo Comic of my installation film: production stills from the shoot of Everything Can and Shall Be Cut
Some stills from the shoot of one of the videos for my new installation “Almost Everything Can and Shall Be Cut”
1. a balloon animal in a helpless position
2. the balloon animal in distress
3. a wig is powerless to keep the scissors at bay
4. the fate of the wig: stuffed in a blender
5. wig, ravaged , posing with its instrument of death
6. the slow decomposition of jello
7. the ice-cubes are handpicked for oblivion
8. a cube of polystyrene foam is tortured with a needle
9. green goo oozes from polystyrene’s wounds
10. a steak is posthumously fed with intraveinous liquid
11. a circuit board fears for its transistors
12. circuit board yields its last colorful breath
13. a pillow besides its own stuffing
14. exposing pillow’s inner flesh
15. the pink heart of pillow’s insides
Floating Donuts and Pink Pipe Joints: preliminary models for my project to hybridize the novel and the playground
These sketches are first steps towards a visualization of my concept of “ambient narrative”. In this case, the book being read is inscribed in the walls of a warren of floating inflatable tunnels (suspended like a octopus-shaped air mattress from a ceiling), in the form of pressure sensors that, depending on the visitor’s ensconcement in a particular branch of the structure, trigger audio recordings of a story. Each chapter of the book can be accessed in a recombinant rhizomatic way – literally the visitor travels through the story, using her body, its movements and its rubbing against the plush fabric of the tunnels, as the decoding instrument that allows her to gather fragments of the hidden text. The story itself, called “In the Dark: The Story of a Disapearance” is an existential mystery or detective novel that is pieced together by the non-linear meanderings of the reader.
This two-channel installation piece examines the friction between texture and violence to bring us closer to the felt idea of flesh. The piece intends to question the relationship between affect and materiality, as well as the psychological economy of desire, destruction, and consumption by simultaneously making the viewer feel uncomfortable and viscerally involved.
A TV monitor presents us with a video of a hand performing different types of incisions using sharp and blunt metal instruments into a large array of materials. The monitor is covered with a loose “tent” of plastic sheeting, allowing the visitor a mysterious view of the video content through the blurring, glowing screen of the semi-transparent material. To get a closer look, the viewer has to unzip the tent’s opening and insert her head into an intimate space shared by the monitor.
The video is a loop of shot after shot of various texturally ambiguous materials or objects being clinically laid out on a chrome table while a hand, alternately gloved in vinyl or rubber gloves discovers the many methods by which each material can be cut up, destroyed, and divided and the specific instruments that do the job in the most satisfying or interesting way.
INCISION is preceded by a tactile prodding of the object followed by the MORCELLATION, FRAGMENTATION OF THE MATERIAL INTO ITS CONSTITUENT FORMS (filaments, bits, crumbs, slivers).The act of cutting can be smooth, swift : sensation of liberation, closure mixed with disquiet of violent end. The act of cutting can be difficult, messy, awkward: sensation of squeamish frustration. The viewer witnesses a Progression in the act of cutting: colorful liquid starts to OOZE out of the harmed materials (recalling old blood or water, displaying a viscous quality)
The second channel of the installation is rear projected onto a sheet of the same semi-transparent plastic wrapping that covered the monitor. The projection is a looping video of luridly colored organic textures (e.g. close-up of a beating heart, a time-lapse of growing mold). The video is processed into anaglyphic images to produce a stereoscopic effect, visible to the visitor with 3D glasses.