Thursday 27 September 2012

All images my own

As part of the London Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert museumKeiichi Matsuda (whose film, 'Cell' I posted about a few days ago) installed a piece in the cupola of the museum, normally completely off access to museum visitors. I luckily found out about the installation in time, as it requires tickets, despite being a free event. Since I booked my tickets I've been to the museum four or five times and on each occasion there were signs at the front desk indicating that Prism had sold out. The work was so popular that it was even extended beyond the finishing dates of London Design Festival!

On Saturday, feeling pretty pleased with my planning, I went down for my tour of 'Prism'. As the cupola is usually off-access and involve some fairly steep stairs, a guide led us up to the installation site and once up there explained a little more about the piece itself. Prism takes information from all around the city, compiles the data continuously throughout the installation, and 'translates' the information into graphics projected onto each of the facets of the prism structure. Innovative use of graphics and information is what really makes this piece so wonderfully successful - the nosiest of us can even enjoy watching the energy usage of Number 10 Downing Street change, or see what proportion of the Barclays bikes are out and about with someone using them. The structure itself is imposing and inviting simultaneously, dominating the room but asking you to come closer; you can see the fibres of the paper used to create the facets underneath their projections. Moving down the stairs after our visit to the viewing platform above the cupola, we could see the construction of the piece from above, which made the 'construction' video from Wallpaper all the more wonderful! (see below)

The clever use of information that Matsuda showed in 'Cell' is equally mesmerising in Prism, which lights up the usually unseen space with fluorescent changing patterns, pointing through the ceiling of the ceramics gallery and through all the way to the ground floor, where you can see the tip of the structure just after you pass through the main doors:

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