Projection at GSD (3 Projects)
Public Projection: Projection as a Tool for Expression and Communication in Public Space
Gund Hall - Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (GSD)
Designed by Australian architect and GSD graduate John Andrews, Gund Hall opened in 1972. Gund Hall offers students a stimulating environment in which to work, including studio and office areas for approximately 500 students and more than 100 faculty and staff; lecture and seminar rooms; workshops and darkrooms; an audiovisual center; computer facilities; a cafeteria; a project room; Piper Auditorium; and the Frances Loeb Library.
The central studio space extends through five levels under a stepped, clear-span roof that admits natural light and provides views toward Boston. The dramatic facade and extensive glass surfaces make an eloquent statement about the design excellence and professional creativity for which the school is known.
However, there are always complaints in Gund from students since they feel they are trapped in the building and restrained by their desks. They don't have freedom and they are too tired of drawing everyday. Therefore, we hope to create a dialogue between architecture and people as well as an outlet for students to freely express their emotions.
Giant as Gund, is both an outstanding piece of architecture and a colossal shell accommodating young students who draw architecture hard day and night inside it. On one hand, the building manifests as an absolute embodiment of patriarchy that exerts pressure onto its children; while on the other hand, the building might be an innocent tabula rasa that the students manipulate and make fun of.
This project aims at a rebellious trial for a reverse of the hierarchy between architecture and people, that is, to diminish the building’s authority as accommodation as well as restriction of the body and turn it into a playground for people to freely express their emotions through real-time interactive drawing and projection practices.
The projection process is divided into two parts: Preparation & Implementation.
we have a wood box that marked with three words: the negative emotion, positive emotion and locations in Gund hall. Each participant picks up one note from the drawer and decides which emotion matches with the place that is chosen.
Then the participant expresses his/her own thought onto the drawing board, which will be immediately projected onto the wall of Gund Hall. It is important to draw the first impression of those words!
The Magic Box
The facade of Gund is embedded with huge potentials to manipulate from the scale of a man to the scale of architecture. The Participants write down the words they choose first and then draw something related to them. Through this expression of thoughts and projection of these thoughts onto the wall, the original human graffiti are scaled to align with the architectural scale, and thus create interactions between people and architecture.
The Most Familiar Stranger
Something is wrong with me. Since when is it like this?
The other day, perhaps. When I was in my own dream.
I let slip of my own body, and met another me.
Who are you? I asked.
Self. He answered.
The distant place.
that is forever three inches away from me,
is called the self.
This is a performance, a game, and a metaphor. In the endless circle, we are all chasing after and also chased by the forever unapproachable self.
At the same time, there is another source of light that casts the performers' shadow onto the wall. In this way, the movement is of the body is abstracted and simplified as an silhouette to be in consistence with the projected shadow. And the wall becomes the screen of a Chinese shadow puppetry. Ideally, the projected shadow is a processed real-time image of the real shadow.
The concept of "another self" derives from Freud's famous theory of the "double." This extra image of the self is both an approval of the real self and a potential threat, especially when it does not align with the real self. When the image is at odds with the real self, it generates the feeling of the "uncanny." In this project, a movable projector is fixed on a helmet so that the image of the self is projected onto the wall from the performer's head.
In the performance, the performer wore the helmet. He controlled and subtly adjusted the position of the projected shadow by turning his head. Through fixing the projector onto the movable head, a discursive space that was rich in meanings emerged especially when the performer took advantage of turning his head to manipulate his relationship with the projected shadow—his another self. The more he tried to get rid of the shadow, the closer the shadow would be. Only when he turned to the shadow face to face would he find the shadow is unexpectedly distanced away.
The Digital age has come
The projection "The Digital Age has come" is aimed to express the feeling of being at this age through different combinations and animations of numbers, sounds and images. There is no doubt that the digital age has largely redefined our world, communication, connection, collaboration, interaction, culture etc, but we are also overwhelmed by the many technological and informational advancements, which paradoxically, may hinder our ability to make clear choices.
The beginning of the projection features the sound of typing, indicating the coming of the Digital Age. With the countdown "3,2,1", the age suddenly comes, spreading to every corner of the world.
Then the door is highlighted with numbers dropping down, representing the omnipresent data and technology has left people without any privacy in public and private space.
After that, the music fades out and turns up the sound of space, giving audience a feeling of hollowness and depression. With numbers gradually passing through the wall and the door, the red label "EXIT" becomes increasingly striking, indicating the outlet to another world.
At the climax of the sound, the door is highlighted again and finally opened. At the same time, a female voice says, "activating alarm system", then a stream of strident alarm arises and the "Warning" label on the door is highlighted, implying the impossibility to get out of the room, or the Digital Age.