Beaming Baudrillard: A Foray into the World(s) of Furniture and Other Things is a multi-channel video installation involving animation, sound, and computer-assisted fabrication. The project began in response to two texts: The System of Objects (1968) by cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard and a 1981 reproduction of The Catalog of Roycroft Furniture and Other Things (1906) both which have been translated in various ways through digital technologies. The installation addresses themes of reproduction, translation, and transmission as images from an early 20th century furniture catalog are reproduced both virtually and physically, allowing for various modes of function and interactivity.
The installation changes each time it is exhibited. Below is documentation from the most recent installation of the project at Currents 2014, an international new media festival in Santa Fe, NM.
For Currents 2014, The project was installed in a custom built trapezoidal room, which was painted using swatches from the animations in order to create a physical space that was reminiscent of the animated environments.
Seven animations were hidden at various heights around the room, 2 on digital video frames and 5 emanating micro projectors fitted inside the sculptures.
The floor of the installation space was made from wood grain patterned foam, manufactured as children’s play mats. The unexpected softness of the floor, alongside the low-positioned projections, encouraged sitting and kneeling.
Because Currents 2014 has a more diverse audience than most exhibition spaces, often including families with small children, I converted several smaller sculptures within the installation into puzzles that younger audience members could rearrange using velcro. The “broken chandelier” below was one such puzzle.
More about the animations: The animations depict several constructed worlds populated with images from the Roycroft Furniture Catalog as explored by a mysterious figure in a red jump suit. Within the animations the furniture-images act both as functional set pieces and active characters. The animations are whimsical in nature, and appropriate for all ages.
More about the sculptures: The same Roycroft Catalog images used in the animations are brought into physical space in the form of faux-furniture sculptures. The sculptures are created by digitally tracing the original image, enlarging it to human-scale, and laser-cutting the image into ½ inch sheets of plywood. The original shapes are spliced and hinged together allowing them to be bent at angles that resemble the warping effects and scale shifts that take place in the animations. The original catalog image is enlarged and applied to the laser-cut wood so that the sculptures appear as flat images warped to fit within a three dimensional plane.