This particular work , ‘flowering phantasm” was created and installed for the Amsterdam Light Festival. This year’s festival theme was “BioMimicry”, and broadly, as in nature, the project leverages elements of Light, Form, and Color. More explicitly, the project explores the systematic intertwining of these basic elements enacted through engagement with its context which are most resonantly experienced as responses to change in time of day, its physical and cultural surroundings, and most importantly to the people who come across it.
This kind of uncanny experience is one which resonates with questions of contemporary design’s ability to engage with the contexts in which it operates. Here the project is situated at the entry to the Hof Tuin Garden near the Hermitage Museum. This location is charged by its relationship between landscape and the city and through its cultural importance.
To engage this contextual richness, the form of the object takes on characteristics of nature through is bulbous shape and through its surface which is made up of individual forms which I call ‘petals’ which on one side are covered in over 3000feet of led fiber ‘hairs’. The material also begins to resonate with its cultural and physical contexts. The gold finish of the petals resonates with the tradition of gold details on buildings which are found throughout Amsterdam and the ‘hairs’ and biological resonances fit with the context of the garden in which the project is set.
People see and are drawn to experience an object that seems familiar without being referenced directly to anything in the world. The work is called flowering phantasm because it is active, familiar and elusive simultaneously. The project’s scale and form as well as its materials are those which people might find approachable while the pieces themselves are not directly tied to any particular reference. The project, like a flower in bloom, invites people to come to it and asks their engagement, but it also elusive, a phantasm, that defies exact references and remains partially inaccessible. Even its reflective surface allows it to blend in with its surroundings while it is clearly something new and alien.
Project size: 60 ft2
Completion date: 2016
Project team: studioMODO – Clay Odom