I’m constantly curious about innovation in the design of experiences, and that inevitably causes my head to turn when someone unveils promising new technologies. But lately I have been more compelled by new thinking that doesn’t require gadgetry to make me look twice. We’ve seen galleries made of pure color, an exhibit that uses your sense of smell instead of one you’d expect, and other surprises. The latest in this hopefully growing trend for me is the work of Korean-German artist Jeongmoon Choi, who creates magical spaces with nothing but some string and UV lights. Note to self: don’t wait for the next electronics product announcement to conceive something fresh.
When Carlos Cruz-Diez began, it wasn’t called “installation art”, but rather the Kinetic Movement. He has been hard at work on his “Chromosaturation” series ever since, with two shows currently in Paris and Mexico. Using only very simply filtered flourescent lights, he changes the entire feeling of a space. Even the color of the visitors themselves changes, as they interact by moving through the zones of red, green and blue.
The chromatic spaces act as detonators to alter the perception of its audience – modifying skin color, clothing and objects – shocking viewers’ retinas from the changing visual saturation as they move from booth to booth. Cruz-Diez experiments with the spectator’s quotidian experience of color, disrupting the way light is processed by the human eye – creating an aesthetic universe that submerges the observer in the artist’s autonomous reality of color, time and space.
This month in Washington D.C., the National Building Museum is staging an exhibition devoted in part to [architect David Rockwell's] Imagination Playground. Installed in the museum’s wide galleries, Play Work Build chronicles the history of active play in the most appropriate way possible: by asking visitors to actually play the games. A massive series of shelves offers more than 2,300 architectural and construction games, from Froebel Blocks to Tinker Toys. Some of the building games date back to the 1870s.
Now showing at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, “Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan” includes a “digital cave”:
Weaving together archival photographs and current imaging technology, the Digital Cave serves as a virtual reconstruction of the South Cave at Northern Xiangtangshan. This immersive installation allows viewers to experience the site and see sculptures that have been removed from the cave restored within their original setting. The configuration and scale of the three screens are based on the architecture of the South Cave, the latest of the three cave temples of the northern group and one that contains inscriptions dated to 568–572. The South Cave features an open cubical chamber, about ten feet wide by nine feet deep, with curving recesses on the back and side walls that house symmetrical groupings of deities.
The Venice Architecture Biennale closed this weekend, shuttering a few remarkable pavilions. The Chilean Pavilion sticks in my mind in particular, largely thanks to this video of it by director Christobal Palma.
A while back I created an exhibit design bookshelf on Shelfari (with the help of then-intern-now-designer Jess Griscti). For years I have collected books on exhibit design, museum planning and interactive space. I have the actual physical bookshelf, with all the actual books, in my office, so I don’t look at the virtual one that often. It’s worth a look. It still needs some categorizing and blurbs, but I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else.
This article, just out in the Times, is a must-read discussion about the challenges of putting together the story for the 9/11 project. Most of the press coverage in the past years has focused on the budget, logistics, or politics of the whole thing; this is the first to point out the challenges of interpretation.
Gravity Free, the “Only Multidisciplinary Design Conference In The World,” takes place next Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago. The lineup is great, and I have the, um, challenge of moderating the panel sessions. Wish me luck, and see you there!
This week, Core77 posted a fly-through video of Renzo Piano’s new design for the Whitney in the meatpacking district, which is planned to open in 2015 at the south end of the High Line. It will be a “200,000-square foot museum that includes 13,000-square-feet for outdoor exhibitions as well as an 18,000-square-foot temporary gallery,” and will contain “the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City.” I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time there.
Reading Forms, a tumblr by Yotam Hadar, collects images of well-designed exhibits about graphic design. A must-see. (Above, an installation shot from the Yale 2006 Graphic Design MFA Thesis Exhibition.) Cheers, Yotam!