studio for digital crafts

Computational design and tools for a mirror installation

River is …

In the course of the World Exhibition 2012 in South Korea, the Four Rivers pavilion opened in the South Jeolla Province, showing an exhibition about the restoration of the four major rivers in South Korea. ART+COM created the mirror installation “River is…” for the pavilion. FELD was part of the Computational design team, involved in the process and the tools making the computed surface a reality.

Above the mirror sculpture there are two light sources gently moving by themselves, creating a constant play of light spelling out two words: “River is…”. Viewers use hand-held flashlights to discover the hidden characters and their meanings encoded in the reflections. Those characters complete the sentence. The river reveals its significances only through interaction and reflection, thus becomes a contemplative moment within the exhibition.

The whole surface depicts a frozen moment in the continuous flowing Yeong San River situated very close to the pavilion.

The thousands of facets that make up the surface are computed, so that each facet directs light from a source in a specific position to an exact little spot on the wall or ceiling. Many of those spots make up one legible character. Because the source and target spots differ for distinct areas of the surface, many characters can be encoded into the surface and are visible only when light is shone onto the surface from a specific location.

FELD was involved as a part of the design team of the whole sculpture and the early prototyping stages; however the main challenge was to develop custom software tools and processes, to turn the arrangement of light sources and characters on the wall into a geometry that could be milled from a suitable material and then be coated with a chrome-like finish.

ART+COM Project Page