Media + Architecture

The six projects featured in this collection are among the most exciting contemporary intersections between media and architecture. Although they are diverse projects, each transforms physical space through the addition of one or more elements including light, sound, motion, response, and information. Each explores an innovative conceptand is executed with tremendous precision and craft; each project is a dynamic vector that points toward future exploration.
compiled by C.E.B. Reas

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Volume, 2006. Installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

UnitedVisualArtists
Volume is a sculpture of light and sound, an array of light columns positioned dramatically in the centre of the garden. Volume responds spectacularly to human movement, creating a series of audio-visual experiences. Step inside and see your actions at play with the energy fields throughout the space, triggering a brilliant display of light and sound”.
Please visit: United Visual Artists

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Christian Moeller
Daisy, Mojo, and Nosy are the first three characters of a growing family of robotic sculptures created for public spaces. In their interactions with their surroundings including passers-by, the sculptures possess a strong, almost overwhelming, physical presence. With their curious approach, they can be viewed as friendly creatures, impossible to ignore. Simultaneously, the sculptures satirize authorities and civil service institutions which have increasingly drifted towards an emphasis on sterile robotic behaviour, leaving little room for independent thought and freedoms. This trend in concert with the increasing omnipresence of surveillance in our society poses an incalculable danger which is far from friendly.

Daisy is a robotic arm which randomly moves a cargo ship propellor made of fiberglass in the air. Videocameras embedded in the base of the sculpture capture the presence of passers-by allowing Daisy to move and face her viewers”.

Mojo is robotic arm holding a theater spotlight which shines a perfect circle of light onto the sidewalk corner of 7th and Centre Streets. Two videocameras attached to the roof of the building survey the area around the sculpture while Mojo tries to follow the passers-by with his light beam”.

Nosy is a robotic video camera, mounted on top of a steel post close to the sidewalk, tracks and captures passers-by and the surrounding landscape, which are then displayed in bitmap graphics on a white LED matrix behind frosted glass mounted onto three 13.5 m high towers. The title of the work points to the usual meaning of the word as something intrusive or inquisitive, but also alludes to the almost life-like character of the robotic camera”.
Please visit: Christian Moeller

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Image courtesy of ACME, Los Angeles; greengrassi, London; Lehmann Maupin, New York.

Jennifer Seinkamp
Eye Catching was created for the historic Yerebatan Cistern. Three computer animated trees were projected on the walls of the cistern which respond to two ancient Medusa Heads that are used as column supports in the cistern. Curiously, one is placed upside down, while the other is on her side. Animated enchanted trees sway while their branches move like Medusa’s serpentine hair. The installation is meant to be a celebration of the power of female sexuality and Medusa’s beauty”.
Please visit: Jennifer Seinkamp

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Carsten Nicolai
“The intention of syn chron is to create an integral sculpture of light, sound and architecture. Additional to its function to define the spatial structure of the object the translucent skin of the accessible crystal-shaped body serves as an interface for a synchronized play of light and sound, both on the interior and exterior of the object.

The object at the same is a room for spatial experience, an acoustic resonance body, and a projection surface. The visitor is witness to an interplay of electronic sound – transmitted onto the surface of the crystal – and programmed laser beams that are visible both on the out – and the inside.
Syn chron thereby creates an synaesthetic experience: in the inner, organic space of the human body the external signals of light and sound blend into each other to form a whole”.
Please visit: Carsten Nicolai

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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Volume is a sculpture of light and sound, an array of light columns positioned dramatically in the centre of the garden. Volume responds spectacularly to human movement, creating a series of audio-visual experiences. Step inside and see your actions at play with the energy fields throughout the space, triggering a brilliant display of light and sound”.
Please visit: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin
Moveable Type is an artwork commissioned for the ground-floor lobby of The New York Times Building in New York City. It is a dynamic portrait of The Times. Statistical methods and natural-language processing algorithms will be used to parse the daily output of the paper (news, features, editorials) and the archives, as well as the activity of visitors to NYTimes.com (browsing, searching, commenting). The resulting refracted view of The Times is displayed on 560 vacuum-fluorescent display screens installed in the lobby”.
Please visit: Ear Studio