Grace Simmons “Looking Outwards” Assignment

One project I admire is Shylight by Studio Drift. The project involves a series of dynamic light fixtures that can be hung in buildings with high, vaulted ceilings. The lights descend 30 feet and mimic blossoming as they open, and then ascend and fold delicately back up to a close. Each light is held by an apparatus made from many silk folds; the folds can be moved by the millimeter using a robotic system (that can be run from a computer or iPhone). I really admire this work of art because it uses movement and lighting that’s elegant and organic, but in a way that feels convincingly “alive,” not just visually pleasing. The opening and closing is meant to replicate how some flowers close at night to preserve resources/protect themselves. They’ve made something that feels very natural, and seems imbued with some biological process. But rather than directly replicating a flower, they decided to focus on electrical lights, which gives the illusion that man-made infrastructure is its own mysterious ecosystem. I think it’s a conceptually interesting idea that could be applied to more static, industrial-type fixtures.

One project that surprised me is the Real Time Face Tracking & Projection Mapping video pieces by a group called Omote. Omote is the joined efforts of Nobumichi Asai(multimedia artist), Horoto Kuwahara(makeup artist) and Paul Lacroix (digital image engineer). In the video below, a model’s face is filmed and captured with sensors, and then, in that very moment, projected on. This creates the convincing impression of wearing a mask, looking robotic, or even having reflective-looking skin. It surprised me because I’ve obviously seen projects that utilize facial recognition before, but usually to interact/react with the viewer. I’ve never seen this kind of art, which modifies a human subject. Any person sitting in front of the censors and projectors, in this case, becomes the art. This would allow for so much potential in performance pieces (lots of movement would require even more precise technology, though).

One piece that I thought could be improved was Penguins Mirror by Daniel Rozin. Although I appreciate the kinetic aspects of the piece, and that the animals chosen provide a contrast of black and white to track movement, I still don’t know if the individual objects (the stuffed animals) were used to the best of their ability. This work seems to be in the same vein of his other pom pom mirror creations, that were typically hung on a wall. I believe that this piece is interesting to have on the ground, as though the penguins are potentially an army at the viewer’s command. However, I feel that if he wants to make an installation such as this, that perhaps it would have been better to be even more immersive. For instance, having almost the entire room filled with the animals, and surrounding the human who commands the sensory response. I want the animals to feel more like an overwhelming natural force, and make the mirror really feel like a mob, otherwise the animals feel like they could be replaced with any inanimate objects.

An Interactive Mirror Built from 450 Rotating Penguins by Daniel Rozin

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