Optical Fictions Facade

Wildly dynamic atmospherics and micro climates of the Bay Area represents a key aspect of our shared civic experience. Throughout the hour, day, month and year, the ever changing weather patterns invite a changing understanding of our environment both visually and experientially…These optical fictions formed our visual precedent for the facade. With the facade installation daily commute turns into a spectacle, cinematic experience of arrival and departure. It is achieved by the means of displaced landscapes and visual laminations in which surrounding expand and contract.
Geometry does not play a stolid and dormant role but becomes an active agent in the links between thinking and imagination, imagination and drawing, drawing and building these fleeting alleyways of sight and rhythm combine into an animation of speed and visual direction.
Using the elevated viewing platform of the Bart train car as a horizontal datum, the geometric forms of the façade are calibrated to the arrival and departure sequence. The subtly undulating surface of the façade plays a game of hide and seek, aligning and then misaligning the reflective parts of the façade depending on viewing angle. Materials used are polished Stainless steel for the pixels between refractive stripes which use the exact material finish as the Bart train exterior.
As one approaches the installation, the oblique view offers a different understanding of the piece than when one sees it frontally. All of a sadden the installation changes from elusive and unclear on the perimeters to a gradually clearer view as you get closer to the piece.

The composition is comprised of three zones: the lower pedestrian level, the middle commute level and the upper atmospheric level.  Like an abstract landscape painting, the composition of these zones is made up of both slow and fast “brush strokes” to attain textures and contrasting layers of both dynamic atmospheres and static objects.  Rather than using a paint brush, the piece uses small reflective and refractive “pixels” to naturally imbue the piece with the colors and light from the surrounding neighborhood.

Non-Euclidean geometry was used in order to create an expanding elevation from oblique to frontal, thereby collapsing perspective and then expanding the perception of the installation as one draws near. This creates a kind of perceptual slingshot to passengers as train slows approaching the nearby station. We used non-Euclidean to align the installation at the extreme angles with horizon. As angles and proximity changes, the non-Euclidean geometry levels out.

Project team: Gradient Matter and SUM (Andre Caradec)

Type
Facade, Public Art

Status
Work in progress

Location
El Cerrito, CA

Date
2021