“We want to intensify the perception of the real place. We are looking for ways to create ‘rooms to be experienced’ in a new, understandable vocabulary.” That the new perception is an illusion, that the new room can be experienced, but is not real, makes no difference in this case. The interdisciplinary team of the Berlin media art bureau Mader Stublic Wiermann projects a world into the world, spaces into space and the innermost outwards. It produces spatial connections by expanding the traditional means used by architecture to create rooms with temporary media such as light, video and sound, and thus create a new reality.
For us, their projects have a strong touch of glamour, perhaps even a hint of the magical glitter of stars. Streams of light flow through the urban space, the contours of buildings start to shift, change their sizes and forms, thus transforming static rigidity into a dynamic flow.
Light, especially the finely structured light pattern of a video, can impose a new interpretation on a building at night, deconstruct the existing shapes and offer new, alternative shapes instead. Applied with care, it still invariably leaves sufficient scope for the original form to assert itself. The option of forming time sequences of interpretations, which partly contradict each other, also prevents total absorption or totality – a projection onto a piece of architecture as the addition of a new, transparent layer which interacts with the original shape. The urban space becomes more and more a carrier of – frequently commercial – messages. The use of light plays a significant part in this. The added layers manipulate perception. They replace reality with images of reality and thus unnoticeably change the urban environment, or the way it is perceived. The three-dimensional urban space becomes “invisible”, disappearing under superimposed two-dimensional images – which are artificial and can be manipulated.
Mader Stublic Wiermann reflect on these processes by challenging perception and deliberately inserting contradictions. The existing architecture is unexpectedly commented on, alienated, and questioned by light “twists and turns” on the Uniqa Tower in Vienna. They seek a critical dialogue with the “original”. The added layers are transparent, they do not conceal the city, but complement it instead.
Mader Stublic Wiermann express their intention as follows: “A city always consists of real and virtual elements. We take the view that in meeting the needs of individuals and society it is not so important which degree of reality the ‘building material’ has, but rather how it fulfils its tasks, whether and how it shapes the urban environment. We think that the new light technologies have a potential, beyond mega publicity screens, to continue building a city in three-dimensional forms that are open for interpretation.”
Photos: Hervé Massard, Werner Hannappel (Dämmerung) Mader Stublic Wiermann (Nacht), Nina Vöge, Mader Stublic Wiermann
Youtube: „twists and turns“ on the Uniqa Tower, Vienna