How do art and architecture interact with us humans today and in the future?
Editor's note: This article is based on Ivo Lenherr’s speech at Renggli Talks “Digitalization & Art” on 10th March 2020. Sophie Xiying Liu has summarized it.
Art, as well as the architecture, are both the images that reflect the society. The difference is, art may fade away as time goes by, architecture, on the other hand, will stay longer in our life with the buildings, no matter you like or hate them.
Our life and society have been changed by digitalization dramatically in the last two decades. Once upon a time, we only used our eyes to witness the once-a-life moments such as the inauguration of Pope Benedict in 2005. Eight years later everyone outside the Sistine Chapel used their digital eyes – smartphones or tablets to record this moment.
In the world of architecture, there are two tendencies: one is the sculptural architecture, and the other is the artistry in the building. The former stands out of the surrounding environment and states its presence loud and clearly, such as a landmark or signature building of famous architects. The latter can be seen in some public building projects. Art has various ways of expressions. When we integrate artistry in the buildings, we need to consider not only the presence of the art but also whether the art is suitable for the environment and the people living in the building.
Architecture together with the digitalization can also influence our movement and emotion through space and time. For example, Disney Parks used to be designed and built like a real Disney world with castles, sculptures of the Disney characters, colorful decorations, etc. Nowadays, Disney Parks are no different from many shopping halls that use digital tools and equipment to create virtual reality for visitors to experience, blurring the lines between virtual and reality – so called “mapping”.
Digital art can be used well to evoke emotional feelings. Using digital tools we can create arts that interact with people more directly. In 2017, Marina Bay in Singapore presented a digital art exhibit, the Digital Light Canvas, with a 14m tall light installation hanging from the ceiling, above a circular floor spanning 15m in diameter and embedded with over 7.7 million LED lights. When visitors walk on the circular floor, the floor can render graphical arts like flowers and fishes, and changes due to the movement of the people. Visitors are not only enjoying the art but also creating the art themselves. Another example is the Belgium company VisitFanders, who commissioned a digital art to create a virtual world in Brussels Airport to entertain the visitors.
One of the most useful ways to use digitalization in architecture, real estate and construction industry is to work more efficiently and more accurately. Data and digital tools allow us to visualize and change the design more quickly and more precisely without generating the actual production and construction costs. We should trust these tools, try them out and use them professionally.
Photo in header: Shota James, Unsplash