[here][now] is a traveling installation that sets up transient portals into a persistent online world.
Click “about” for a description of the project.
Below is a log of the project’s development. The newest entries are at the top.
We are changing the website from a strictly linear log, which offers little other than a set of non-contextual facts, into a magazine-style layout. Each layout will be an ‘issue’, with a central idea and various related concepts, themes, drawings, theories around it. A kind of ‘gestalt’ that situates the project.
Rory and Marek are giving a talk at Dorkbot in New York at location One.
Composite images of a typical installation – each image showing left, center, right and back projection screens. In an installation with four projectors, the scene moves depending on how people are positioned in the space.
First screenshots of [here][now] based on the Montalvo residency.
This is our new description of the project:
The city is to society as the body is to the mind.
[here][now] is a process that puts creativity into the hands of participants, a toolkit where any group in any location can create their perception of place, of how they map themselves, and then find ways to manifest that creativity.
In his book The Image of the City (1960), Kevin Lynch discussed people creating mental maps of their perception of place. These maps focused urban planners on how people understood their spaces, maps being the first stage of empowerment.
Constant Nieuwenhuys’ “New Babylon” (1959-74) imagined a society consisting purely of artists who engage in the world, their lives themselves being works of art.
We take these two concepts, of mental maps and self-actualization, and research different modalities, ways in which current technologies can facilitate group creativity. The focus is the real and the virtual, of the connections that tie them, where the virtual is seen as community and communications, as something intrinsic in our physical experience.
Workshops: Starting with individual’s understanding of their spatial environment, or their path through a typical day, we then move to the more abstract, and as small groups analyze the highly subjective to create common ‘elements’ of the world around us, structures that people share between them.
Installations: We translate the abstract elements created in the workshops into 3D forms. These consist of projections in an installation, screens scattered in a city to be updated at home, or external projections on the city itself – portals into a virtual world.
Toolkit: Currently we create the 3D generative forms by manually transcribing workshop data. These are trials to eventually create an open system where workshop participants can program their own forms, and people could even arrange their own workshops. Each of our teaching practices (computer programming and architecture) factor into this component.
Exhibitions: Each of the many strategies, influences, installations, etc are turned into ‘posters’ or exhibitions, each consisting of screenshots, photographs, sketches from workshops, videos, etc, all about a specific space. These are then available either on the website or at discrete installations.
Reading ‘Manifestos for the Future’ by H.U.Obrist in e-flux magazine, and in general what constitutes contemporary in art, such as ‘New Species of Spaces’ by H.Fang. With the growth and variety of contemporary art, manifestos seem silly, they posit notions of the future – and all we know is that the future will hold unintended consequences.
The field of endeavor then is to create a set of conditions, like the format of ‘haiku‘ poetry, that both limit and set free possibilities.
I’ve been in love with New Babylon for at least 3 decades, a society consisting purely of artists who engage in the world, their lives themselves being works of art.
The architecture of New Babylon is created by the artist Constant Nieuwenhuyst. This fact alone contradicts and negates the project.
[here][now] is a process to put all creativity in the hands of the participants, a toolkit where any group in any location can create their perception of place, of how they map themselves.
Merely a baby step, but maps are a precondition to empowerment.
We’ve been discussing the project and its extension. The workshops divide into three sets:
- Individuals drawing from their subjective experience, then as groups finding common elements.
- Analyzing and testing common elements, or shared ‘abstractions’.
- Creating tools, programmable architectures, for individuals to ‘express’ these common abstractions.
The workshops can take any space and any group of people and, using this toolkit, create various real and virtual installations. The installations can be in a public indoor space, or projected outside on buildings. People can access the data at home on their computer or collectively on monitors in public spaces.
We have created workshops in New York (with friends), in Seoul, Korea (with designers), and currently at Montalvo, California (with artists and cooks!). Future workshops will be in a small village in Sweden, in New York again, can be with teenagers, the retired, with a group from any agency or other organization.
In order to explain these contexts, we are creating “The Real and Virtual Association”, which takes the various components of [here][now] and extends them for use by others or to include others in the discussion.
This website will be transformed into a series of ‘Posters’. The idea here is to gather various data on a specific subject and collect them into one page. So for instance, one screen can show video from the Seoul, Korea, together with an introduction, screenshots, context, theories, links, installation shots, etc. Every subject we have discussed or location presented can become a ‘poster’ that is a ‘gestalt’, in one glance showing a range of theories and actions taken.
As we were discussing ways in which the virtual is physically manifested, I remembered going to Ars Electronica in 2002 and visiting their virtual reality lab. The space was filled with various projections using game engines to create virtual ‘caves’. You put on goggles, gloves, and went into these cubes to experience an imaginary world.
The worlds themselves were unmemorable, unimportant. The entire time I was singly conscious of the gloves, the weight of the goggles, footsteps, the conversation of people around me, the fabric of the screens, the darkness of the space.. perhaps over time these would be less noticeable, but this edge between the virtual and real was interesting, a consciousness of the ‘other’, which it seems most virtual worlders try to erase.
Last night we held a workshop at our residency at the Montalvo Art Center with the resident artists, staff and culinary experts. We started by asking people to create a diagram of the space they navigate when in their neighborhood at home. We then split everyone up into groups of 4 and asked each group to identify common ways to understand these personal diagrams. Finally, we met together, 12 of us, and tried to limit these common understandings, or ‘elements’, into 7 groupings.
The text for the workshop: MontalvoWorkshop1
Here are the individual diagrams:
We then split into groups of four and asked each group to come up with 7 ‘elements’ that their drawings shared. Then all 12 people met, we put up all the elements, and tried to find a way to distill them. Here are the seven final ‘elements’ condensed from the individual maps:
We will use the seven elements created at the workshop to generate the forms for the studio installation at Montalvo on January 12th.