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Presented byBeatrice Lau (in collaboration with William Liow and Michael Senkow)

Exhibited atThe Scrxipt Gallery in Flint, Michigan during the Flint Art Walk 2011.

Vaporized

In-Situ:

Sited under the perimeter of Scrxipt Gallery's soffit is a series of suspended glowing organisms. It is a fog-machine- producing vapors that interact with the viewer and the atmosphere around it. Its lightness and translucency suggest creatures that exist only in the deepest of oceans, where their unique attribute is the glow they radiate.

This installation is not singularly focused on 'glow' as this exhibition is premised upon, but rather attempts to foreground interior atmosphere, through the explicit curatorial and by its residual effects through interaction. The curated atmosphere is susceptible to nuances created by subtle changes of indoor environment- from the slight movement of viewers encircling these artificial organisms to the affectation of temperature gradients upon the cool production of vapor, formed by the dripping of water. On the gallery floor lay a series of tin containers for collecting water, as a device to amplify the continuous droplets of water and as a receptacle to register time.

In darkness, these artificial organisms appear as anomalies floating in space. Streams of delicate beads of water allow for it to be animate. Vapor wraps around the form, seeps through its seams, and drops out from its orifice, as if tethered to the momentum of the water's fall. However, as it lives, it does not sustain itself. It persists by the bygone pharmaceutical lab assistants who tend to the nostalgic forgetting of its historical building as a pharmacy, sited within the memory of Flint. As this narrative-in-situ dredges up history in this temporal moment, it is felt, smelled, heard, seen, and remembered.

 

Process, Production + Fabrication:

Production of Vaporized was achieved through 80+ hours of prototyping, testing, and final prefabrication, followed by 2 hours of on-site installation. By maintaining modular simplicity, only two MDF molds were required for vacuum forming. The final product were 5 identical 'pods'- each one requiring countless hours of finishing and assembly, all detailed with technical austerity.

Situating:

Light as material, is made ethereal by subtle nuances in atmosphere. For Vaporized, air, water, and sound are what transcend and transform glow through its natural properties- the weight of vapor carries the refraction of glow within the surfaces of water particles. As it drops, it adheres and wraps around surfaces, pulling light into darkness. With the fading of light comes the fading of the visual sense, but increasingly, the hearing sense is amplified and takes over. The dripping of water into an empty tin container suggests the boundaries of space, which is registered by sound. Furthermore, the darkness is also a register of time, as the reverberation of tin changes as the container is slowly filled up. Thus, this project emphasizes the symbiosis of light and dark, mediated by curating the movement of water and the creation of vapor.

 

Positioning:

Vaporized became a discursive project through iterations of making as a consequence of a workshop agenda. It began with the notion of light, fused with a curiosity of its possibilities. This project may segue into a couple different positions within the architectural field- by process of discovery through making, and a critical understanding of environment and its effects/affects. The result of the process led to a design question where the sheer technical aspect of how to make it work premised initial concepts and ideas. In turn, this technical constraint led us into an installation that was performed in addition to being exhibited, which elicited a historical narrative of its place. Further material and design decisions were adjusted to suggest that narrative., To reiterate, the value is due to its discursiveness that allowed much more insight beyond preconceived ideas and notions of glow. Whether it stuck to original ideas or not, this project provided a platform for generative thinking that took on a trajectory that encompassed many aspects of architectural conceptualizing and production: phenomenological understanding, digital fabrication, narrative writing, and documenting.