Thursday, August 6, 2009

Surface & Depth : 1

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

May I suggest that when you watch the above video, you view it in full screen and relax for a moment from whatever it is that you are supposed to be doing. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

This post is the short version of an extensive network of thoughts oriented around the development of surface technologies emerging in the urban fabric. I am thinking of surfaces that have been transformed from rigid physical boundaries into large scale widows through advancements in digital LED screens. But what is above is not one of these surfaces. This is a view of a very real environment. The aquatic life seen here is not artificial and aside from the fact that we currently experience it from a computer screen, these are not merely images. My concern here is with the very real environment captured in this video and artificial images presented on emerging multimedia surfaces (like the one below).

555 KUBIK | facade projection | from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

I have an array of thoughts related to this topic. How is the urban fabric going to change as more and more surfaces become augmented through technology? How will these changes affect human behavior and psychology? What images will we experience? Surely not all of these screens will run artistic projects like the one above. What will happen if and when these surfaces become interactive, like the producers of the next video imagine? And what will it be like when we can interact with the same surfaces that for centuries have functioned as physical and psychological boundaries? Needless to say these are only a few of the questions I have related to this type of change in rigid urban surfaces.

Map/Territory from timo on Vimeo.

Seeing as how this is supposed to be the short version of my thoughts I will move on to why I chose to emphasis the first video in this post. For one, I was moved by this video. I am attracted to aquatic life like many other people in the world and have great memories of time spent off the coast of Belize studying reef ecology. But, returning from such a digression, the video of the aquarium is a real (although designed by human) environment. After seeing all of these videos and others like them I am drawn to question the differences between seeing a high definition image on a screen the size of a building, capable of mimicking real environments and the experience of real environments. One cannot physically move through the images presented on the screen nor can one move through the glass that contains the artificial sea of the aquarium. So to the viewer what is the difference? Perhaps in my case the difference appears in my memory. The memory of seeing creatures like these in their real habitat. The memory of the weightlessness and the feeling of being surrounded by water, literally immersed in a new world, one I am able to explore through all of my senses, in a very human way. A way that I believe is common to all of us and one that, in the world of surfaces, boundaries and images, decays without the depth added by memory and real experience.

My intention here is not to relegate technology to some benign status. It is to applaud the experience of being human, and the ability to explore the world around us. It is also to realize that technology, paired with the wonder of very real environments, real experiences and the imagination of creative men and women, can give depth to everyday surfaces, making them extraordinary.

No comments: