world-architecture - LAb[au]

under the title: Making waves
featuring: binary waves, cybernetic urban installation

Art Grandeuer Nature, Paris Biennale brings waves to the Seine

LAb[au] have designed a new large scale urban installation binary waves for the 'Art Grandeur Nature' Biennale of Paris.

The installation is constituted by a network of rotating and luminous panels of 3 meter-high and 60 centimetres wide, forming a kinetic wall. The panels rotate around their vertical axis, with a black mirror on one side, the other being white aluminium. Their rotation is controlled by microprocessors, allowing to determine precisely the rotation speed and angle, while their networking allows to synchronise the movement over the panels. The microprocessors are connected to sensors, capturing the surrounding infrastructural flows, defining the frequency and amplitude of the rotation. According to this set up, each impulse is transmitted from one panel to the other, describing visual waves running from one side of the installation to the other, and then bouncing back while progressively loosing oscillation.

The kinetic principle driving the installation is derived from wave propagation in water, which, because of the proximity with the canal, is one of the project's major contextual parameters. This analogy between wave propagation and the programming of the panel's rotation behaviour, is founded in the characterisation of the urban context as a fluid state constituted of micro events. As such the installation is based on the concept of rhythm inscribing single urban events into a collective pattern addressing the principle of flows. In order to underline the two major principles driving the installation - the measuring and propagation of urban flows - the panels are illuminated by two different colours,


depending on the type of input received; the red lights, illuminating one side of the panel by 8 horizontal lines, display the electromagnetic fields of the area whereas the white light, illuminating the edges of the panels, reflects the frequency of people, cars... passing by.

The intensity and frequency of light signals is varying according to the amount of traffic and the wave strength of the surrounding electromagnetic fields. In this manner, light reinforces the kinetic principle of the panels. Furthermore, each captured signal is related to a sound reinforcing the perception of the circulation frequency and leading to a soundscape. All these principles relate the 'micro-events' happening in the area to a unified play of light, colours and sounds directly derived from the rhythm of the city flows.

The installation will be at Saint Denis RER D station until 19 October.

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