exterior view of the screen showing the xy time, markers & visitors

last month we reported that M-A-D (erik adigard & chris salter) will present ‘airXY: from immaterial to rematerial’ as part of the ‘out there: architecture beyond building’ exhibition at the venice architecture biennale.

since then M-A-D have been in touch with some more info and images of the piece which is now installed at the arsenale ahead of the biennale’s opening on september 14.

‘the airXY screen is folded to seem as if it had burst out of the wall behind. as visitors approach they notice what appears to be a giant checkerboard with a vertical line scanning from left to right. suggesting the surface of an interface, a desktop and a machine simultaneously, on further observation, the visitors see that the composition is, in fact, charting the passing of time along an XY axis divided into 24×60 units. in addition to the vertical line and rectangular XY units, tiny green abstract icons are floating across the screen, looking like runes, contemporary urban signs or the graphic language of circuit diagrams.‘

venice architecture biennale 08 preview: M A D (update) top view with strobe flash

venice architecture biennale 08 preview: M A D (update) detail view of the screen

‘stepping closer to the screen, the visitors are sensed and monitored by overhead cameras. they are captured in real time and transformed into moving forms projected onto the surface. as the visitors step across the floor, their sensed representations may run into the path of an icon, causing a sudden scaling and merging of the icon into the visitor’s form. the longer the visitors remain before the screen, the more they are transformed in real time by the machine, increasingly mutated from humans to abstract traces.’

venice architecture biennale 08 preview: M A D (update) edge of the screen with view of the floor projection

‘when the visitors walk behind the physical screens they find themselves in a radically different environment. in a darkened world filled with haze, they encounter a series of projected images on the floor, the same graphic icons that inhabit the surface of the screen on the other side. as the symbols gradually appear in the darkness, they now become solid, volumetric forms, created by the interaction of the projected light with the haze. these immaterial shapes appear to breathe in the air space, changing their size and brightness over the course of time and occasionally, appearing at the verge of perception. every minute, a powerful strobe light flashes, turning the air into a white, near-solid volume for a split second and making both architecture and space itself disappear into an after image, only to re-materialize moments later.’ M-A-D