Unclaimed

Unclaimed

Unclaimed is by artists Chris Coleman and Laleh Mehran. It is made up of several parts and deals with breath, air, and responsibility. Visitors to the artwork can blow on a 3D printed glowing city and see their breath become a stream of light below the city. Multiple people can blows and their breaths become mixed. The city is the same proportion as the room and the entire ceiling is replaced by a gird of small clear fans. When people blow on the city, their breath is repeated above by the fans that have a piece of plastic over top of them. This creates waves in the plastic from the breaths on the city below. The other part of the artwork is two very wide monitors on each end of the room showing a real-time image from above the plastic. From that angle the plastic looks like an ocean or shifting landscape. The light in the room also constantly changes color so sometimes it seems like sunrise, midday, or evening.

The title of the work, Unclaimed, refers to the airspace above the roofs of the city but below where the FAA controls. The plastic film is a physical representation of that airspace and in this artwork we can see how every breath we take affects the unclaimed airspace and how we all share responsibility for it. One of the artists Chris Coleman explained:

"How can we approach these ideas from a new perspective? We got an idea while reading forums for hobby quad and hexa-copters discussing airspace rules. Once we understood how we could talk about the unclaimed airspace, we then needed to figure out how to make the piece interactive and involve the visitor physically. Secondly, we needed to make the airspace itself something tangible that you could see and hear and thus care about one's relationship to," Alec(2015, Oct 21) Interactive 3D printed installation 'Unclaimed' points us to last unclaimed territory: the airspace directly above us

Scarlet Cheng describes Unclaimed in Artillery Blog:

Sound and motion—one can blow across the piece—activates pulsations of light and also sends an overhead plastic canopy aloft, via some 200 small fans. The lights play across the city like clouds, and one gets a decidedly Godlike kick from making it all go. This complex and extraordinarily beautiful piece was created by artists Laleh Mehran and Chris Coleman, who both teach new media at Denver University. “It’s very physical,” said Mehran during the preview. “It’s not all about the marvels of technology though the technology is dense; it’s about how you feel in the space.” Cheng, Scarlet (2015, Sept. 8) BIENNIAL OF THE AMERICAS 2015 - Denver Biennial focus on Now

Watching the documentation, the experience seemed almost magical and very contemplative. While quite a bit of technology was involved in the work, it was very hidden from the visitors so that they could focus on the experience. It is unclear if most of the visitors understood the relationship between the artwork and things like pollution and control. However these sorts of alternative experiences are what makes interactive installations so powerful.

Unclaimed shares many aesthetic qualities by another artwork by Chris Coleman called Spatiodynamic from 2003 (http://digitalcoleman.com/Spatiodynamic ). In that work he used a similar grid of fans beneath a piece of plastic to create constantly changing landscapes. The concept dealt with surveillance and information, showing how a technology might be used to express multiple things. Another work created in 2015 by Zimoun played with this aesthetic as well. His work is primarily concerned with randomness and the sounds created from the complex motions. (http://www.zimoun.net/2015-64-2.html) In many ways the fans and plastic are a creative method of making a "display." 

 Image courtesy of the artist.

Image courtesy of the artist.

 Image from http://www.zimoun.net/2015-64-2.html

Image from http://www.zimoun.net/2015-64-2.html

Unclaimed was part of the following exhibitions:

Additional Press:

The Artists Lecturing about Unclaimed here: https://vimeo.com/145330875

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