Random header image at INDUCTIVE PLAY

Site Specific: Proposal to Augment “Lobby For the Time Being”

Site Specific: Proposal to Augment “Lobby For the Time Being”

October 13th, 2009  |  Published in Uncategorized

Projectors aren't a great source of lighting, perhaps with an interactive lighting source as a foundation we could use the projectors for a more immersive interaciton with less articulated boundaries.
Perhaps an interactive supplement to using the projectors for lighting.

Lobby: 1553, from M.L. laubia, lobia “covered walk in a monastery,” from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. louba “hall, roof;” see lodge (n.)). Meaning “large entrance hall in a public building” is from 1640. Political sense of “those who seek to influence legislation” is attested 1808 in Amer.Eng., in ref. to the custom of influence-seekers gathering in large entrance-halls outside legislative chambers. The verb in this sense is first attested 1850. Lobbyist is first attested 1863.

We shifted from “lobby” the space to “lobby” the act a while back.  But if we forget that – if we treat this only as a large entrance, forgetting how much this space serves to persuade us, its role as mediator, threshold and lobbyist – we’re bound to think of projection only in its cinematic sense.  Projection is a noun but also a verb, spatial in both senses, but the latter is more internal and more speculative.  So perhaps that “best of both worlds” is to be found in uncovering what this threshold of corian is mediating – how it lobbies in the lobby in the midst of this passage from street to gallery.  What we have here is an architecture-furniture assemblage – if we can sit on it, if we can eat on it, if it can create a room with it, we’re going to find a way to an interior of a folded surface – but that’s already happening.  We know the installation is lobbying for now, but it’s also acting on behalf of the “Time Being,” and whether that’s a good thing, I’d like to see it practice what it preaches.  And that’s to see this material taking a form and a function it isn’t supposed to, that’s somewhere between fabric and architecture, skin and structure: where one function of the body collides with another.

More to follow along these lines, there are many ways we can go about this, but for now it seems like the Corian hasn’t quite realized its full potential – maybe with some better lighting we can do that.  The projectors just aren’t bright enough, and the Corian is being used too much like a screen – maybe with a few more thousand lumens we could see through it though, and then the perforations where light leaks through would feel like holes for projection rather than the boundaries of shadows.  Then if the material stops blocking the light entirely we’ll lose that distinct boundary between light and shadow, meld them together and have that “best of both worlds.”

Not enough lumens
Not enough lumens

So I want to bring some color kinetics lighting into the space, and see whether we can activate the corian with some interactive lighting cues.  We have the chance to make this frenetic and explosive, but also subtle and diffused.  I got seduced by this lighting a year ago, wanting to make it interactive and now I can.  I can’t propose a distinct program for it yet, but playing with them this weekend, here’s something I did on the floor in a few hours for ITP30:

It’s not the most subtle interaction, and it’s more of a spectacle than we’re looking for – six lights (each bright enough to illuminate the wall of a building) and a rangefinder that calls up lighting cues on the arduino depending on the distance of a viewer from the portrait of red.  But at this scale and brightness – something no camera can really do justice – the pixelated portrait (itself on paper if I’m not mistaken) took on the appearance of an interactive screen. It was the result of the transformative potential of such dramatic lighting, but it wasn’t the only possibility we might explore with them.

By illuminating the Corian more effectively I think we can tease out more of what drew the studio to use it.  This was never meant to be a screen, and it feels to me like projectors are bound to frame it that way – let’s cast brilliant light from inside it, around it, and stop the alcove on the interior from feeling so much more like a cave than a room.

Too much of a cave, it feels like we're backstage, not in a room of corian.
Too much of a cave, it feels like we’re backstage, not in a room of corian.

Leave a Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.