March 2021


Public Art


Palo Alto, California



Aether is a site based installation utilizing privacy mirror film or “two way mirror”. This ubiquitous material is used in a variety of utilitarian applications from the reflective facades of silicon valley buildings to the mirrored glass windows of interrogation rooms. Two way mirror behaves differently depending the light conditions. For example, in an office tower the bright sun makes the material appear reflective from the outside, while the internal habitants can still see out as they are on the darker side of the material. Our project proposes hanging panels of privacy mirror film to create an atmospheric visual maze. The appearance of the piece will change throughout the day depending on light conditions, and be illuminated at night by eight glowing lights that dim and brighten. During the exhibition opening hours the lighting will be paired with a multichannel sound installation playing on eight speakers. We will use ambient sound and the spatial relationship between the speakers, to create the feeling that the viewer is being drawn to different points of the installation. The speakers will use parallel sounds that are complimentary but not identical to create an audio component corresponding to the visual effects of the installation. The project in all its aspect explores themes of reflections, refractions, loops, echoes and feedback.


Gradient Matter in collaboration with Hobstetter Architecture


Andrei Hakhovich, Sarah Hobstetter

The experience, seamlessly integrates realms of sound and design, lighting, and art.

Aether assumes one of the alley/ breezeway sites for ease of installation. If these sites are not available the design could be adjusted to work on any of the sites with the addition of a superstructure frame. The most simple installation approach involves anchoring directly into the cinder block exterior facade to create a wire grid from which the panels can hang. Alternately we could utilize existing attachments on the building facades for mounting.The sound component is highly adoptable and will respond to the site. The audio component will be limited to the opening events, alternately if budget/ site allows we may explore a method of securing them more permanently. The mirror film panels would be cut in strips ranging from 4’ - 8’ tall and hung on fishing wire at varied heights. Our installation will maintain a 48” pathway through the piece at all times so that all visitors are comfortable. We hope that by including both visual and auditory components to the project more people will feel welcome. The panels we will structured by basswood dowels rolled into the top and bottom of panel and secured. The weight of the material will allow the panel to hang mostly flat. Our assembly will be as lightweight as possible to avoid any risk of injury for viewers from overhead objects. While we have not planner our specific installation to be permanent, all of the materials are robust and found commonly in outdoor applications. Alternative site installations may involve a wood or meta superstructure. In all instances it is important that the viewer is able to walk between the panels to fully experience the mirrored maze effect. Our proposal is intended to be and immerse experience that is ethereal and captivating. The experience, seamlessly integrates realms of sound and design, lighting, and art. It will interactively morph with the subject as they move physically through the space. Moving through the space, the subject will experience a window into another dimension, and no two passes through the space will be alike.