FROM CHERNOBYL TO MONTREAL, THE INCANDESCENT ZEN GARDEN
FALLING FOREST = ROOT LOG, by artist Michael Saup aka Quantengeist (Germany) + CHABLIS, by architects Howard Davies, Randy Cohen and Anne Cormier of the Atelier Big City (Montreal)
incarnates a collision in the form of a monumental skewed elevation, occupying a simple sidewalk. This structure stages the fortuitous meeting of city and forest, embodying the moment at which contemporary society suddenly feels the need to preserve the forest and allow it to follow its fragile destiny, so that we do not contribute to its destruction. CHABLIS, a forest of wooden farms, aligns itself with ROOT LOG in an audio-visual amplification of the eternal traces left by humanity on nature. The natural phenomena of radioactivity and sound waves are amplified, with the Falling Forest illuminated night and day by a red light, the same one that made the forest – the Red Forest - adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor vibrate.
Michael Saup is an electronic artist, a movie director, and musician. Since the 1990’s, he has been one of Europe’s major protagonists of computer-generated art. His work, often in collaboration with other established figures of the arts, including Steina Vasulka, Richard Castelli, Peter Weibel, and William Forsythe, has been presented in many international contexts. He is one of the founding professors of the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung (Hfg), Germany’s largest school for arts and new technology, attached to the Zentrum fuer Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM), where he taught for many years. He works and lives in Berlin.
Atelier Big City (Cormier, Cohen, Davies architects) has a marked interest in the city in all its manifestations. The motto “make architecture a public policy” underlines the importance that the atelier grants to the public role of architecture. Many prizes, publications and invitations to present and exhibit its projects in America and Europe bear witness to its contribution to the dynamism of Quebec architecture. Atelier Big City was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts’ Prix de Rome in 1998.
THE MACROCOSM OF FIBER OR THE FILTERING PAVILLON
PNEUS = PNEUMAS, a collective composed of architect Patrick Harrop (Montreal, Manitoba), artist and architect Peter Hasdell (Australia, England, Manitoba, Hong Kong), and artist Sha Xin Wei (USA, Montreal) of the Topological Media Lab.
PNEUS is a suspended forest made of a multitude of sensors and electronic generators surrounding translucent PVC tubes. The latter reproduce the fibers that lend trees their flexibility and regenerative capacity in a structure many meters high. This magic space of sound and light is the outcome of a progressive real-time recording and its transformation that condenses and expresses in one space - a structure and spatial occupation - an immediate experience of all the perceptible phenomena of movement in the context of the occupied neighborhood, including passersby, passing clouds, and the wind. ESEA, a new version of PNEUS will be presented at the Shanghai E-Arts Festival from October 17-22, 2008.
Peter Hasdell is a British, Australian-born architect, artist, and academic whose practice and research investigate metabolic systems and interactive technologies, with a focus on ‘artificial ecologies’ and issues of sustainability. He has been a member of various research institutes, including the Chora Institute of Urbanism and Architecture in London.
Patrick H Harrop is architect and associate professor of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. His current work involves developing new approaches to embedded and interactive technology, where immediacy and responsiveness is delayed and translated into autonomous, complex behaviors and environments.
Sha Xin Wei, Ph. D., is Canada Research Chair in media arts and sciences, and Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Computer Science at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. He directs the Topological Media Lab. His work is dedicated to the study of applied gesture, distributed agency, and materiality on the phenomenology of performance and the built environment.
THE MOBILE BRANCH, A FOREST OF HYPNOSIS AND VERTIGO
MENISCUS = EFFRITEMENTS, by artist Patrick Beaulieu (Montreal), and REFLEXIVE MEMBRANE, by architect Philip Beesley (Ontario)
A raised three-dimensional flooring and a cover propelled at 300 rotations per minute form a vibrating dance of branches and twigs, constituting a human-sized space of the in-between from which humans are nevertheless excluded; a space of vertigo and hypnosis, of presence and disappearance, and of transparence, where together the ground and horizon blur the visitors’ perceptions, giving rise to feelings of danger.
Philip Beesley practices new media arts and architecture in Toronto. His creative focus in the past two decades has been sculpture and land art installations, which have been consistently exhibited internationally. He is a professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, directs the distribution program for the Network of Canadian Design Research/Canadian Research in Design, and is an external examiner for the Bartlett Architecture School, University College, London, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Canada and Ontario Council for the Arts.
The multimedia installations by Montreal artist Patrick Beaulieu have been presented in solo and collective exhibitions in many art centers and institutions across North and South America, in Asia, and in Europe.