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Type/Dynamics – LUST and the work of Jurriaan Schrofer at the Stedelijk Museum

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, photo Gert-Jan van Rooij

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, photo Gert-Jan van Rooij

Created by the the Dutch design studio LUST, ‘Type/Dynamics’ is a new interactive installation for the exhibition of work by the graphic designer Jurriaan Schrofer (1926-1990) at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This installation, that utilises eight HD projectors combined with Kinect sensors to transcribe data into typography, interprets and comments on the work in an effort to revitalise recent design history.

The installation visualises information that continuously surrounds us and is always accessible. By searching for real-time locations currently in the news, like “Ground Zero”, “Reichstag”, or “Tiananmen Square”, the installation can locate the panorama images from Google Street View, abstract them into grids and fill the grids with new information. As a visitor to the space, you are ‘transported’ to that location and surrounded by all the news associated with that specific location. Instead of a photographic representation, the place is represented purely typographically with a host of new items currently being talked about at that location. Nothing in the gallery space stands still; all information is dynamic.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, photo Gert-Jan van Rooij

Jurriaan Schrofer looked for new ways to express dynamics and movement in printed typography. ‘Type/Dynamics’ shows the dynamic qualities of information and typography. The concept that design is endowed with a form that is unfinished or changeable has been self-evident in contemporary design for quite some time. Nowadays attention is paid more to the design of rules, or creating the framework in which something can happen. In a database for instance, content does not have an innate form, but rather receives form at the moment it is shown via the interface. In fact, the same information can be represented in an endless number of ways. The interface allows for content to be shown as data, as information, or as knowledge; ultimately content appears as loose data without a context, as data in a context, or as interpreted information. This data can even change per week, day, or minute. What is evident through this process is a very different approach and attitude towards desi
gn than the questions of Schrofer’s generation.

Jurriaan Schrofer room at Type/Dynamics exhibition, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, photo Gert-Jan van Rooij

The exhibition consists of two identical galleries of the same conceptual theme. In the first gallery the walls are covered with enlarged detail images of Schrofer’s work. Originals are located in vitrines with an emphasis on sketches. The second gallery presents LUST’s free interpretation of Schrofer’s work. Sensors track the visitors’ movement, while the projections subsequently respond to the position and number of visitors in the space, as well as their distance from the gallery walls.

The installation software runs on a custom built computer powered with a quad core i7 CPU, 16GB ram and two ATI 7880 eyefinity adapters that drive eight HD projectors. The software was written in Java on top of RNDR, LUST’s in-house framework for creative coding.The tracking setup consists of four small (Intel NUC DC53427HY) computers, each of which is connected to two Kinect sensors. The data that is acquired from the Kinect sensors is sent to a processing unit that fuses the data into a single observation of the space. Using this setup they accurately track multiple individuals through the entire space at responsive rates.

The exhibition is open until 4th March 2014.

Project Page | LUST | Stedelijk Museum