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A Public Space That Plays With You

A funky exhibit in Istanbul is part of a growing trend of "interactive architecture" that's easy to access

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When the Philips Pavilion was opened at the Brussels World Fair in 1958, Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis, along with Edgar Varese, introduced a mode of spatial production in which the arts and the built environment were synthesized in a way that had never been seen up until that time.

Though the pavilion stood only for a season, it remains to this day a testament to the historical moment in which architecture began to expand its interests and pursuits beyond the founding Greco-Roman truisms that had dictated the parameters of the field for so long. In addition to these and other salient points that can be made for the work’s influence – among which the corporate sponsorship (and manufacturing) of art and cultural objects that built it cannot be ignored – the pavilion also gave birth, somewhat indirectly, to the technological light show.

Xenakis’ later installations and experiments would expound on the initial propositions advanced by the Philips Pavilion, while increased computing power and readily accessible three-dimensional modeling and scripting sets, not too mention the open-sourced mentality of contemporary digital culture have accelerated the development of dynamic, interactive light shows. Which is what we get a whole lot of nowadays, from urban pinball games to psychedelic cathedrals.

Augmented Structures v1.1: Acoustic Formations/İstiklâl Caddesi by Salon 2 is the latest of these "interactive architectures." The architectural installation premiered in İstanbul last fall, hypnotizing visitors with a 6-minute dance of light and form. The piece can be described as a negotiation between the virtual medium of mathematically-generated visuals and the architectonic tradition.

A large undulating frame was mounted on the façade of a public building at Galatasaray Square and served as the "canvas" on which the fluid-like graphics–which feature references to the triangulated surfaces of the Rhino age–unfold, bend, and mutate. According to the makers, the project "forces each discipline to alter its own ‘material’ state; transforming sound into mathematics, mathematics into architecture and architecture into a living canvas, while presenting the viewer with a new media experience that is multi-levelled, produces sound, moves and breathes."

Here's a video:

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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