It’s that time of year again, when all things turn red and heart-shaped in honor of St Valentine. Times Square is no exception. Now in its sixth year since the revitalization of Father Duffy Square, Times Square Arts held their annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition for a heart- and love-themed interactive sculpture to be placed across the square from the TKTS booth steps. This year’s winning design is Young Projects’ Match-Maker that will cosmically connect people, guided by their zodiac signs. Peering through bright red, interwoven periscopes – which, from certain angles, appears as an iconic heart, while from others a more abstract tangled object – visitors are offered glimpses of their four most suited astrological mates.
But while Match-Maker is a clever design, the competition was no slouch either. The five finalists were strong candidates and merit mentioning as well. Haiko Cornelissen Architecten submitted Tweet Heart NY, an illuminated heart that would pulsate with every tweet @ it. The more tweets, the faster the pulse. Schaum/Shieh Architects offered My Fuzzy Valentine, a striped graphic reflective structure that would create moiré patterns when rotated that pulse like a beating heart, as well as making for great selfie opportunities and creating digital Valentine-grams. Next, The Living proposed Vapor Valentine: a dynamic cloud that captures and displays the ever-changing life and light of Times Square. People could interact with the heart through touching and blowing the cloud, through placing their hands on the glass box to affect the vapor inside, and through a custom text-messaging hotline. Heart, proposed by Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, would have been made from an illuminated circle that could be pulled and folded to form a heart. When released it would flutter until regaining its balance. Lastly, SoftLAB’s entry was inspired by the sweetness and forms of rock candy and candy hearts, hence its name Sweet ❤. Its kaleidoscopic reflective surface would capture the lights of Times Square in addition to revealing hidden messages as visitors moved their mobile cameras around the sculpture.
You can visit the winning Match-Maker sculpture through March 11, 2014, and you can read more about all the entries over here.
via Van Alen Institute
It was only a matter of time before 3D printing turned to food, or vice versa. There have been some spectacularly beautiful pieces (actually, too beautiful to put in your coffee!) made with sugar, and now there is talk of Hershey teaming up with 3D Systems to create, I assume, some amazing things with chocolate. So, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Dutch company MELT is creating an the Icepop Generator to bring personalized ice pops to the public while educating them in 3D design technology. It appears, however, that the Icepop Generator works more on a carving and chiseling process rather than actually 3D printing an ice pop from frozen water but, it’s amazing nonetheless. Starting with a block of ice, the generator (which looks like many 3D printers with the twist of doubling as a freezer) has a sort of drill that moves back and forth along three axes, carving out the designated design, in effect, functioning as a mechanical sculptor. The Icepop Generator was just funded yesterday on Voordekunst—a Dutch funding platform similar to Kickstarter—so these pops are likely to be at a street fair or festival near you in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime the creative team at MELT has made several a pop, some in their own image. You can see how it works in this video:
via notcot and 3ders
At the VVTs All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow last week, an upside down house had visitors in a tizzy. Similar in concept to Jean-François Fourtou’s Tombée du Ciel, this house (not sure who the artist/designer behind the project is) is larger and even includes a car hanging from the driveway. The multi-room structure was built upside down as a tourist attraction and was fully fitted with furnishings, kitchen, bath, and even food on the dining room table, all hanging from the ceiling, or, rather, floor…wait. It appears that at least in one of the rooms a video camera was inverted inside a cabinet (see third photo down) projecting the room live and right side up on a tv screen and, consequently, its visitors upside down. Confusing and fun.
Thanks Ramon and Eugene. (GMS)
Who doesn’t like a good flipbook, right? And your very own? Even better. A few years back I made a couple of flipbooks of my kids when they were little via flipclips which were a hit, but now kinetic artists Wendy Marvel and Mark Rosen have taken the concept to a whole new level with their FlipBooKit Moto, a motorized animated flip book. Based on their own artworks inspired by the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, the duo applied the same techniques they use in their sculptural mechanical flipbooks to a DIY kit. It’s easy to assemble— you’ll only need a screwdriver—and will take less than an hour to complete. You can use the included art or use your own images, the possibilities are limitless! Looks like a great gift idea. You can hear more about it in the video below and you can purchase it here.
I’ve been through a corn maze and even visited an ice bar, but I had never heard of these incredible Ice Castles created in Colorado, Utah, and New Hampshire. As an homage to the Polar Vortex we’re presently experiencing here on the east coast, I thought I’d post some photos of these castles/mazes that are built by hand from more the 20,000,000 pounds of ice. These glacial formations include caverns, archways, paths and tunnels inviting visitors to wander through in awe. If the ice itself isn’t amazing enough, at night these structures are illuminated by colored lights for additional dramatic effect. The castles begin by ‘growing’ more than 5,000 icicles per day which are then sculpted together. By dipping the icicles in freezing water they then stick to each other and with the combination of wind, temperature fluctuation, and water volume a variety of effects can be achieved. The process takes a few weeks of growth and artistry, repeating the process twice daily, until the final ice masterpiece is completed. If temperatures don’t change much around here, we may be able to build one of these in Central Park any day now…
Take a virtual walk through with this video:
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Tokyo-based teamLab is a group of ultra-technologists including programmers, user-interface engineers, mathematicians, CG animators, as well as architects, designers, artists and editors, who blur the boundaries of their respective fields to create and discover new ideas and push limitations. Presently, their interactive installation Homogenizing and Transforming World is part of the exhibition Distilling Senses: A Journey through Art and Technology in Asian Contemporary Art, at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Individual balls floating within an enclosed space communicate to each other via wireless connection. They change color and emit different sounds when touched by visitors or bump into each other or other objects. The balls send color information to other balls which in turn spread the information to other balls, changing all the balls to the same color. The piece is a metaphor for the internet and globalization in general. People act as intermediaries for information which so quickly travels via the internet globally, transforming the world in an instant and unifying at the same time.
You can see the installation live through January 12, 2014 or in the video below anytime:
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This past fall, up until last month, Mégaphone, an interactive installation, occupied the Promenade des Artistes, in the heart of Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal with the intention of reappropriating public space. The installation, designed by Moment Factory, invited visitors to gather and explore the fun side to public speaking. Using a megaphone participants could speak out, their words transformed in real time into images projected onto the façade of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), leaving their visual “footprint” on the urban landscape. Inspired by the city’s early 20th-century history of popular assemblies as well as the 19th-century British tradition of the Speaker’s Corner, the installation gives everyone a chance to speak out and air their concerns. Visual effects of waves, scribbles, and distortions were generated by voice recognition software designed by the Computer Research Institute of Montreal. Certainly a crowd pleaser for all ages as seen in the video below:
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The Numen/For Use (previously here and here) guys are at it again. Known for their fun, playful, interactive structures, the Croatian-Austrian collective has recently gone inflatable. Their latest installation in Yokohama (home of the also fun CupNoodles Museum) looks like a carnival Moonwalk gone wild. The stylized cloud-like object has nets inside connected to its inner lining that expand and become taut as the blob is blown up. The exterior membrane is sheer enough that when lit from within, it acts as a projection screen for the activity inside. The nets provide climbing and tumbling surfaces on multiple levels. Looks like a blast.
via vizkultura via notcot
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Las Magdalenas of Lagaleriademagdalena (previously here) have been at it again. Actually, they never stop. About a year ago the duo set up a pop-up photocall intervention titled Encaja_dos (meaning ‘to fit’ and read ‘within box’) where guests’ heads and torsos were photographed, well, within a box. These were placed on the walls of an empty lot in El Born, a section in the old part of Barcelona. Its popularity was such, that slowly over the year the lot had additions made to it, with gravel and seating added, becoming one of the most photographed corners of the city and recently included in official city tours. But Encaja_dos is no longer exclusive to Barcelona. Last month Las Magdalenas moved its next iteration to Rivas Vaciamadrid as part of the Cultural Festival in the Streets of Rivas. Taking new portraits of locals in white boxes, they then, with the assistance of many volunteers and friends, entered the waters clad in fisherman boots and pasted the photos along the white walls of the park, giving the impression of windows overlooking the banks. Add to that the reflective effect of the water, and the result is quite different from the original lot in El Born.
Keep an eye on these ladies. They are in full-steam-ahead mode, with new ideas and pop-ups every month. I wouldn’t be surprised if their work extended past the streets of Spain shortly.
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Lately, each consecutive summer in NYC seems to top the last in offerings of outdoor film screenings. Locations range from parks, to restaurant backyards, to rooftops and even beaches. And now, the concept is extending into the fall with an additional twist: a drive-in. Not just your usual run-of-the-mill drive-in, which in itself would be cool and intriguing enough, but Empire Drive-In is a junk car drive-in, upcycling wrecked cars rescued from junkyards and repurposing them as seats for audience members to climb into, and onto, while watching films projected on a 40-foot screen made of salvaged wood. The masterminds behind the project—which will be held outside the New York Hall of Science in Corona Park, Queens, starting October 4th and running though the 20th—are Jeff Stark (whose name seems to be associated with many an interesting NYC event) and Todd Chandler. The two Brooklyn-based artists have previously created other Empire Drive-Ins, most recently last year at the Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Manchester, UK. Stark and Chandler, along with a team of other artists and craftspeople have set out, in this age of consumerism, to create a sense of possibility by focusing on re-use, designing something new and special while salvaging and repurposing waste. In cleaning up the cars, which will have stereo audio transmitted via radio directly to each car, the crew found all kinds of interesting personal artifacts from car deodorizers to letters, which they have chosen to keep in the cars to “create a story”. The audience is urged to explore.
Opening night promises to be fun with a 30-Pianists-on-Casio-keyboards performance, in addition to a stellar line-up of films from Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Oliver Hardy, to Jim Jarmusch’s Night On Earth. You can see the rest of the schedule here.
All photos & video courtesy of Empire Drive-In
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Montreal-based graphic design and strategic marketing firm Paprika (previously here) never disappoints. Checking in to their site for a boost of inspiration I came across their currently exhibited art installation for Aires Libres—an artistic event on St. Catherine Street in Montreal. Trous de mémoire (Memory Gaps) invites visitors to take a walk down memory lane, but there are tricks and humorous discoveries to be made, indicating that what is forgotten is not always lost. By day or by night, pedestrians can slip between the panels and uncover their secrets from up close or from a distance, deciphering them from all angles and even climb through them.
For those of us not near Montreal, the experience is nicely captured in the videos below, the second one being a timelapse version of the installation process (with a lovely song by Black Water.)
Memory Gaps (Trous de mémoire) is on view through September 2, 2013.
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As part of this year’s Summer Streets in NYC — an annual celebration of the city’s most valuable public space: its streets! — for three consecutive Saturdays in August, nearly seven miles from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park are closed to traffic and opened for people to play, walk, bike, and enjoy. This year, as part of this event the Park Avenue Tunnel which runs from 33rd to 40th Streets, will be transformed into an interactive sound and light installation, Voice Tunnel, by Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (previously here and here.) This rare opportunity to stroll the tunnel will invite participants to walk to a midpoint in the tunnel and deliver short messages into an intercom. The words/sounds will then reverberate out in waves of sound and arching light until they disappear. The intensity of the light will be determined by the pitch and volume of the person’s voice.
Voice Tunnel will be taken down after each of the three Saturdays before car traffic resumes, and will be set up again the following week. Other, smaller, interactive installations include Chat Travieso‘s CoolStop at Foley Square, a water mister that connects to fire hydrants made with recycled PVC piping. The 10′ installation resembles a large splash that participants will be able to stand under for a small reprieve from the heat. Also, The Course of Emotions: a mini-golf experience by Risa Puno, that translates everyday feelings into 9 holes of playable fun. Players putt through a range of emotional obstacles, like the seesaw platform of Insecurity and the par-40 Frustration maze.
Summer Streets will take place on the first three Saturdays of August (3rd, 10th & 17th) from 7am to 1pm.
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Colorado-based artist/architect Jenn Lewin creates large, immersive, interactive art pieces for the public. From interactive sound and light sculptures that inspire people into play, to woven fiber video curtains that reflect movement, or giant, robotic, ethereal moths that dance based on human touch. In her interactive light installation titled The Pool, Lewin put together 106 interactive circular platforms in giant concentric circles that communicate wirelessly. Each pad is independent and simultaneously interacts and listens to its environment based on user feedback. Together, the 106 pads create complex, surprising, and unpredictable color arrays with their user participants. Each pad in The Pool senses a person’s movements. User inputs such as foot location, foot pressure, and speed are sensed by the pad surface. As a person moves, light ripples out to the surrounding pads. For example, by leaning left, a ripple of varying intensity starts in that direction. A stronger more deliberate lean could cause a ripple to jump rings and fill the entire Pool. Each person’s ripple is unique. The more people that participate the more of a cacophony is created.
The Pool can be as small as 35ft x 35ft or, if spread out, as large as 70ft x 70ft. It’s powered via a normal household outlet and can be placed indoors or out.
Here it is in action:
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Recent graduate, Melbourne-based graphic designer Vanessa Vanselow created a installation to visualize her thesis on Originality vs Authenticity. It’s probably best to quote Vanessa directly on her thesis statement and explanation:
Redefining the term ‘originality’ into the more relevant term ‘authenticity’ is essential in the growth and development of the design community. Authenticity entails taking ideas and using them in a way that is unique and different. It is more about the way you are influenced by what is around you, and the way you apply your ideas to your work. It relates to how you are inspired, what elements affect you personally and how you translate this into a solution.
In creating a visual outcome, I have focused on the concept of an authentic experience that is ever changing by creating an imprint made by each viewer onto a structure, whilst projecting images and colours onto it that relate to them on a personal level. This therefore becomes a genuine and authentic experience, influenced solely by the viewer that evolves and changes through time. The ever-changing nature captures an ephemeral imprint of each user, tailoring the experience to become authentic and personal to each individual.
Here’s the stop motion animation that documents the installation in use and illustrates Vanselow’s thesis quite well.
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Mexican-born artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (previously here) is an electronic artist who develops interactive installations that are at the intersection of architecture and performance art. His main interest is in creating platforms for public participation using technologies such as robotics, computerized surveillance and telematic networks. In his installation Pulse Index Lozano-Hemmer invites participants to place their finger into a custom-made sensor equipped with a 220x digital microscope and a heart rate sensor. The piece displays data for the last 765 and over participants in a stepped display that creates a horizon line of skin. The fingerprint immediately appears on the largest cell of the display, pulsating to the person’s heart beat. As more people try the piece one’s own recording travels upwards until it disappears altogether.
Reading Lozano-Hemmer’s website I learned that he has a mysterious public art piece scheduled for NYC next month (August) so we’ll have to keep an eye out for that.
Photos: Anti-modular Research and Kate Russel