Mariko Mori's techno-artistic experiment brings people together
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 4/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Part space capsule, part meditation chamber, Mariko Mori's latest creation is landing in Manhattan. The New York artist's Wave UFO comes to the glass atrium at 590 Madison Avenue from May 10 to July 31, courtesy of the nonprofit Public Art Fund and art dealer Jeffrey Deitch. Unveiled earlier this year at Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the installation draws upon an otherworldly mix of spirituality and pop culture—the same combination that generally inspires Mori's work. (Remember her Dream Temple, exhibited at Milan's Fondazione Prada in 1999?)
Wave UFO's teardrop-shape structure, 36 feet long by 16 wide, hovers about 2 feet above the ground, supported by a base of carbon fiber, magnesium, and aluminum. The pod's shell is composed of 36 fiberglass panels that owe their holographic shimmer to automotive paint applied by Ferrari's supplier. A curved white resin stairway leads up to the ocular entrance.
Inside, plush blue Technogel cushions invite up to three visitors to recline and relax—and connect, with the help of headsets with electrodes fitted by exhibit attendants. The electrodes pick up each person's brain waves, and a computer translates them into a combined pattern of biomorphic forms that alter with the subjects' changing thought processes. In the first half of a seven-minute run, the patterns appear on a domed screen in the capsule. They are then replaced by Mori's computer-generated animations of organic shapes, giving onlookers a glimpse into the artist's own dream world.
"People enter as individuals but become connected to one another by biofeedback technology. You leave everyday life behind," says Mori. On the other hand, the shared experience of Wave UFO is rather apropos in a city where one's personal space often verges on the communal.