Another great project by LAb[au], “fLUX binary waves” is an urban and cybernetic installation based on the measuring of infrastructural ( passengers, cars…) and communicational ( electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones, radio…) flows and their transposition into luminous, sonic and kinetic rules.
This relation between the installation and the urban activity happens in real time and sets each person as an element of the installation, as a centre of the public realm. The installation fLUX, binary waves is constituted by a network of 32 rotating and luminous panels of 3 meter-high and 60 centimetres wide, placed every 3 meters to form a kinetic wall.
The panels rotate around their vertical axis, and have a black reflective surface on one side, the other being plain mat white. Their rotation is controlled by microprocessors, allowing to determine precisely the rotation speed and angle, while their networking allows to synchronise the movement of the 32 panels.
The microprocessors are connected to infrared sensors, capturing the surrounding infrastructural flows, defining the frequency and amplitude of the rotation. According to this set up, each impulse is transmitted from one panel to the other, describing visual waves running from one side of the installation to the other, and then bouncing back while progressively loosing oscillation. All these principles relate the ‘micro-events’ happening in the area to a unified play of light, colours and sounds directly derived from the rhythm of the city flows.
As such, the installation proposes an urban sign having as subject the ‘urban’ and as message to be a catalyst of urbanity via the transcription of urban flows in a contemporary play of kinetics, lights and sound.
Primal Source by Usman Haque was an all-night performance/installation brought to life through the active participation of festival-goers at Glow 08. Making use of a large-scale outdoor waterscreen/mist projection system, the mirage-like installation glowed with colours and ebullient patterns created in response to the competing and collaborative voices, music and screams of people nearby.
Responding to sounds emanating from the crowd, the system’s modes changed every few minutes depending on how active the crowd participation was (more quickly when there was more noise). Each mode responded in a slightly different way to the individual voices and sounds picked up by 8 microphones distributed towards the front. Some modes created “creatures” whose colour, shape and movement followed the frequency and amplitude dynamics of individual syllables and sentences picked up; other modes responded to wider collective phenomena, e.g. distorting a grid in response to the crowd volume, or creating a rush of wind through a wheat-field landscape.
One of the special mentions in the VIDA 11.0 exhibition went to Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots project by James Auger, Jimmy Loizeau, Alex Zivanovic, and Trevor Harvey currently exists as a series of five semi-operational prototypes: Mousetrap coffee table robot, Lampshade robot, Cobweb robot, UV fly killer parasite robot, and Flypaper robotic clock . The robots take the form of beautiful and fashionable furniture and household accessories, which perform functions that range from lighting a room to low-key (and admittedly dark) entertainment. But more primarily, the very process that allows the robots to run by supplying them with power also has the function of ridding the household of pests. Each robot has a microbial fuel cell that converts organic matter, ensnared by the robot, into electrical energy: a mechanized iris built into the top of a table traps mice, a lampshade has holes that allow insects in but not out, a small robotic armature picks flies from cobwebs that spiders build into it.
Mousetrap coffee table robot
The key design metaphor in use here is at once that of a novel energetic recyling machine, and a somewhat cruel spectacle of entrapment that mimics the sophistication of predatorial plants and insects. Although there is a strong element of irony in the project, it nonetheless seems only fitting that our relationships with domestic robots should incorporate some of the darker features that characterize relationships in nature.
The Poème électronique was a unique experience, originated from the request made by Philips to Le Corbusier for the design of the company’s pavilion at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. The whole project was initiated and directed by Le Corbusier, who also created and/or selected the images for the audiovisual show, with the organized sound composed by Edgar Varèse, and the stunning surfaces of the building designed by Iannis Xenakis. The result was a ground breaking immersive environment, since the space of the Pavilion hosted the audio and the visual materials as integral parts of the architectural design.
Unluckily, such a visionary synthesis of innovative ideas could not stand with its times, and the paradigm was never repeated, or even attempted, again: the Pavilion, notwithstanding the incredible number of spectators (2 millions), was turned down a few months after its inauguration, at the end of the Exposition. The disappearance of the Pavilion makes the Poème électronique a destroyed masterpiece.
What we stl have today are only fragments of the various components (i.e. photos and drafts of the architecture, the projected video in videotape from the Philips archives, a stereo reduction of Varèse’s and Xenakis’ musical pieces).
Virtual Electronic Poem (VEP) is a project realized as a virtual reality (VR) environment that reproduces the experience of the dismantled masterpiece through an accurate philological reconstruction of the original installation. The website looks a bit out of date but the first of two films in this post shows the results of the work. The second shows the Poème électronique as a film rather than in its architectural context. Perhaps someone out there would be good enough to bring the building into a public setting on Second Life?