Three levels beneath the pavement in London’s busy Marylebone road is a cavernous space. Previously home to the Polytechnic of Central London’s engineering department it was once a place to build and test physical structures. Now part of the University of Westminster, ‘P3’ (as it is known) plays host to exhibitions and events. On Monday 14th February 2011 the students of Westminster’s MA Architecture and Digital Media were given the opportunity to occupy the space and to create site-specific interactive devices.
From Daguerre’s diorama in the nineteenth century to the digital installations of contemporary media artists there is a long history of work in which media and architecture become combined and integrated. The work made by the students in P3 built explicitly on this tradition and placed particular emphasis on the physical and mechanical; and on the placement of these devices within the space. In each case programmed graphics and physical computing using Processing and Arduino were combined with exquisitely made machines. And as with their nineteenth-century predecessors, the spectators, by engaging with these machines, became themselves a component incorporated into the mechanics of the device.
The exhibition was a great success and the work on show both engaged and beguiled visitors. By addressing a range of different technologies and techniques, these installations sought to provide a critical perspective through which the value and appropriateness of these technologies could be assessed. Centred primarily on the development of the student’s individual research projects the installations each in their own way represent an attempt to theorise the use of digital media in architecture and to draw on ideas derived from film theory; art history, philosophy and critical theory. But importantly, in keeping with P3’s former history as the site for structural research and experimentation, the exhibition also acted as a live testing ground and these ideas will, without doubt, continue to be refined and expanded over the forthcoming months.
Tutors: Francois Girardin, Filip Visnjic, Richard Difford.
Support , Photography: Antonio Passaro
Camilo Aragón, Anne-Laure Guiot, Laura Tarjuman and Alvin Chee Kian Wee
Silviya Ilieva, Ismini Nikolidaki and Osman Amin
Anastasia Kaisari, Darya Khusnutdinova and Angela Vanezi
Ping-Hsiang Chen, Georgios Dimitrakopoulos and Xiaohui Gan
Posted on: 20/02/2011