‘The world is experiencing a spatio-temporal implosion as a result of a media explosion. Now more than ever, we are bombarded with enormous quantities of information broadcast from scores of competing decentralized sources. Twenty-four hour news coverage, perpetual talk-radio, commercials, SPAM, all spew forth a constant stream of speculative and often contradictory information. Due to this barrage of media excess, we now struggle to extract from it an accurate concept of truth and reality. With the expansion of global online connectivity, the individual has gained a greater power to infiltrate this feral tempest of information. We are witnessing the growth of online communities cooperating as a collective entity within a system that defines order from anarchy. In a purely democratic effort, individuals repeatedly check and balance multiple flows of raw information according to a shared principle of distillation down to neutral accuracy. Ultimately, relevant meaning is filtered from this process, generating a quiet mental refuge within the informational storm.’
The project issued this statement in a pamphlet declaring our submission to the Beyond Media Festival in November of 2005. This statement of interest focused our semester on the systems, which have an impact on how we interact with information, and how that information can be changed and blocked by other users. We currently live in a world in which user control over information has been attained and in a purely democratic initiative it is censored edited by the mere presence of the masses. These ideas prompted the team to ask the question of whether we could create a space of change in a similar way to how people can change the appearance and experience of digital space for other end users. Our team decided that light would be the most felicitous way to create and modify space as well as allow people to change the circumstance and settings through the manipulation of shadows and silhouettes.
This concept brought us to the idea of screen walls that could be the receivers of shadows that could visually change the experience for others around the room. However, as we began to experiment we realized we could do more than just yield projections we could in fact create a screen wall which could both receive and project the information of shadows beyond. The discovery that tubes could both pull light through reflecting it beyond as well as absorb light allowed for us to have a surface to be projected on as well as a surface which could be projected through. Eager to re-examine the surface condition now in relationship to light I packed my bags filled with ABS styrene plumbing supply and traveled to Florence, wherein we assembled a curving wall of large and small pieces. One side took on a jagged quality, with many of the pieces projecting out while the others side was grinded to a smooth finish giving very different qualities from one side to the other. The approach on the side with the projected members gave an aesthetic of individuals while the smooth side gives the impression of a collective. This was an adequate addition to our ideas as the information user can either view as one by themselves or one of many.
The brief for the assignment defined a chair as ‘an elevated surface for seating;’ this definition provoked my own inquiry in how, when and where a surface become an environment. I concluded that when a surface presents to those who interact with it a variegated array of potential tactile experiences, that surface is inherits the name of environment. I set forth to create a seat that emulated the potential experience given in landscape. Using the principles of terrain modification I developed a contour map akin to a popular seating ground in neighboring Schenley Park. The resultant surface encompassed an upright seat, a reclining seat, a perched stool and a napping alcove, accommodating multiple seating opportunities at once. The surface required a great deal of slope change resulting in its parabolic form. Tubing became a fortuitous choice as depending on the obliqueness of the angle at which the cylinder was cut, the shape would be more elliptical or rounder projecting the slope of the chair. This variation provided a surface that while in plan could be read as flat, at closer examination graphically depicted the variation in the slopes. The project was welded together from polyvinyl chloride white plumbing tubes and ground smooth to create a finished seating surface. The result was a terrain that allowed for a multitude of approaches to seating, most fondly manifesting itself in a professor’s child napping while waiting for his father finish a studio crit.