Exhibition Installation; Responsive Environments
Honorable Mention: 2019 AN Best of Design Awards in Exhibition Design Category
SEE-ING: The Environmental Consciousness Project
Oct 15- Nov 16, 2018, Storrs Gallery, UNCC
Exhibition Design: Catty Dan Zhang
Prototyping and Fabrication team:
Austin Johnson, Pedro Pinera Rodriguez, and Mahdi Ghavidel Sedehi
Gallery Installation team:
Adam Justice, Kit Kube, and Matthew Steele
Exhibition Curator: Catty Dan Zhang
Video: Ben Premeaux
Photo credits: Toby Shearer, Milad Rogha
VENTS is an immersive exhibition installation designed for “SEE-ING: The Environmental Consciousness Project” at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Visualizing fluctuations of air movements elsewhere, it is designed as an ephemeral memorial of environmental catastrophe, rethinking the spectatorship in contemporary exhibitions.
At eight feet above the floor, a grid of suspended umbrellas emits a “rain” of air puffs. Each umbrella module consists of a pair of kinetic mechanisms with embedded LEDs reacting to computed environmental data. The data input hybridizes the real-time local wind speed with a recorded data set of the Hurricane Florence during a seven-day period. These invisible “breezes,” felt on the skin, become visible as rings of colored droplets of fog and light.
While this transparent “ceiling” alters the perceptual scale of the gallery, the 1-½” thick black rubber mulch underfoot, on the other hand, not only covers cables and power cords across the floor, but also provokes tactile sensations. In between these two surfaces, nine vertical thin PVC pipes connect a horizontal mesh of flexible tubing system running along the suspended aluminum grid to sources of fog hidden beneath the 4’ x 4’ image stands on the floor.
VENTS stitches the ten unique responses to the exhibition theme into a choreographed seeing experience that, for a moment, questions and celebrates both the possible presence of technological facts, and the profound joy of experiencing the effects. As visitors finding their own paths wandering between large images and digital screens that are oriented non-orthogonality on the floor, they at times encounter fog rings passing right by, dancing on the mulch, or collapsing onto the skin. The awareness of air movements elsewhere is triggered by the constructed atmosphere within the room.