'beyond infinity', an immersive installation by french artist and theorist serge salat
'beyond infinity', a multisensory installation by french artist and theorist serge salat, interweaves mirrors, light, music,
and fractal art in an architecture that conflates visitors' perceptions of space. sponsored by buick cars and usable during the events
as a vehicle showroom, the work is installed at shanghai's westgate mall from september 16th through 18th, 2011.
measuring 12.45 by 10.8 meters at a height of 3.8 meters, the structure is completely closed,
composed of a steel infrastructure with honeycomb aluminum panels covered in mirrors.
internally, the space is designed around the trigram of the yi king, utilizing spatial techniques
traditional of suzhou gardens as a means of framing the visitor experience as a 'mystical journey'
through abstracted chinese courtyards. painted wooden grids and steps lend additional structure,
while the fractal objects are composed of wooden frames covered with punched aluminum anodized panels.
inside the installation, as music plays, the lighting pulses and shifts as visitors move through a series of room-like spaces
whose dimensions are almost indiscernible as a result of the infinite reflections cast by the mirrors. on a 9-channel system,
the lighting varies from ultraviolet blue to white, traversing each minute a complete cycle that recreates the effects of dawn
through sunset and night. visitors pass first through a blue lattice grid with a darkened section monikered the 'vertical infinite fault'
that seems to eliminate the space where they walk.
in addition to his artistic practice, salat works as an architect and has authored twenty books on subjects
ranging from virtual art, labyrinths, sustainable architecture, and cities and urban planning. the influences
of his academic work bring the perspectives of chinese taoist philosophy and post-structuralist thought
to a single physical manifestation, making use of ancient design and layout methods but modern multimedia
technology to create a space that feels veritably apart from ordinary spacetime.
'beyond infinity' is designed as 'a mystical journey, in which the visitor progresses into the reflected layers
of dreams endlessly nested in each other.' salat notes specifically: 'entering the work is also entering the world
of the dream of the red mansion transposed to the 21st century', referencing the classical chinese novel by cao xueqin.
view looking into the third 'room' in the sequence: the circular and triangular infinite staircases
the 'infinite fault' when exiting from the red grid
the 'hyper cross', the fifth 'room'
after its exhibition in shanghai, 'beyond infinity' travels to beijing, chengdu, dalian, xi'an, zhengzhou, shenzhen,
and hangzhou, remaining for three days in each city. the piece is conceptualized as an extension of salat's 2007
architectural installation, also entitled 'beyond infinity' but creating an immersive world of a different nature.
process photograph: assembling the staircases
creating the framework for the stairs and fractals
construction of the fractal boxes of wood and punched and aluminum
video tour through the space