Embracing the artistic potential of interaction between humans and technology
Daniela Emilia Fajardo Garnica, Vesselin Vitanov
Final design project of Innovation class at Université Paris-Saclay, in partnernship with Centre Pompidou
March 2020 - April 2020
September 2018 - July 2019
For our Innovation & Entrepreneurship class at Université Paris-Saclay, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to have the program in partnership with the Centre Pompidou, the largest modern art museum in Europe. Our class was focused on the cross between art, innovation, and science. Our final design project was to create an interactive experience based on a piece of work that we saw during the tour and were inspired by.
As part of the program, we received a guided visit of the Centre Pompidou by Veronique Caye, where she showed us certain pieces that have influenced her work. We were then prompted to explore the museum and select a piece that managed to have a deep effect on ourselves. Yaacov Agam’s installation was one of the most popular among the group. It's full title is "Aménagement de l’antichambre des appartements privés du palais de l’elysée pour le président Georges Pompidou (or Salam Agam for short), by Yaacov Agam. In other words, the original art piece is essentially a room that was made for Georges Pompidou’s private apartments at the Élysée Palace.
Even without knowing the author’s background, the room is impressive on its own. The intricate patterns on the walls and carpet make the whole installation impossible to take in at once.
The essence of the room is contradictory. The execution of this piece must have been carefully designed. There is an uneven rhythm of the pattern that seem to follow no particular order, but yet collide with the preconceived notion of how shapes normally interact. The use of color, quite excessive for an actual room, contributes to the attraction and at the same time, overwhelms the viewer.
The space is completely different depending on where you are looking from, which builds up to a perceived sense of movement. The panels make one think of rose colored glasses, where it’s up to the spectator to choose the “filter” of their liking. The same can be said about the sculpture, which seems to be slightly out of place at a first glance. However, when seen closely, the shape shifts according to perspective as well.
From the beginning, the elegant display of order and chaos drew our attention and subsequently guided our project. The different ways in which the room can be appreciated, somehow make it so the art is already interactive on some level.
Due to the abrupt COVID pandemic, we had to limit the final version of our idea to an exclusively digital experience and work remotely. We had originally wanted a full projection into an actual room and provide an augmented reality experience. Still, we wanted to give users control over the art piece. Developed in Unity 3D, we had access to open source resources; for example, the “glitches” experienced during the chaotic interactions.
We created the same proportions and patterns of the room in vectors, along with the geometric sculpture in 3D to complete the room's digitalization. For the project itself and the interaction we used Unity 3D game engine with two seperate apps that communicate with each other with Networking protocols. We decided to use a series of effects and scripts which are aim to bring cinematic effects to the gaming world, such as professional cameras, digital and analog glitch, colouring gradients and "bloom" effects, most of which are part of the post-processing world. In addition, we used generative methods to segment the walls and add up deformations for a more chaotic experience. The last part, which we didn’t manage to implement due to time and experience constraints, was a destruction of the piece and allowing the user to put together parts of the installation.
Personally, I embraced this project as an exploration of how technology could enrich a piece of art. Therefore, the process of experimentation was even more fulfilling than the end result. Although we changed our original idea, I am actually more than satisfied with how it came out, especially given that we had a limited time and mostly worked remotely. My team worked together very well given that we only had one month, which I think also made a significant impact on the success of our final project.
There were more chaotic effects that did not make the final version in which we wanted to include, but they are more supplementary rather than something that our final project lacked. I think this kind of project can have so many more effects and interactions added in general, but I think our final submission truly captures the feeling of order, chaos, creativity, curiosity, and intrigue that the original piece emits.
If possible, I would like to be able to project the piece and actually have a tangible sculpture that the users can interact with. Having the physical object trigger the digital cues would add an interesting layer to our project.