MEDIAted Membranes is an art and applied research project that works on the interstice of the private and the public through architecture and media, exploring possible communications between them. It will transform architecture to a permanent living object that can interpret its surroundings, change and react to it, communicate with its environment and the people. It will provide a visual platform to reflect on diversity, demographics, ethics of privacy and climate, and also as a forum for the community to voice their ideas, aiming to foster a liaison with city leadership, and foment urban public policy discussions. MEDIAted Membranes, using publicly displayed large-scale media representations, will provide a powerful platform for transparency and the showcase of socio, cultural, technological, and environmental information about the city and the environment. It will showcase how new artistic methodologies that benefit from recent technological advances can be implemented into the arts and contribute to creating more ethical frameworks. This project will explore further the boundaries of the public and the private by bridging the physical with the digital, and it will do it using architecture, new forms of computational media, the city, and its inhabitants.
My research interests go far beyond just displaying media on a facade. With MEDIAted Membranes, I aim to turn architecture into a means of communication with its environment and explore further what this means in a research context. Coinciding with the start of the Fall semester in late August of 2023, I plan to launch the first attempt to transform the building into a live entity, making it able to sense its surroundings and visually and sonically communicate with it. I have chosen for the first activation to be an environmental theme, where the building's overall facade will display different colors and patterns depending on the air quality, pollution, humidity, wind speeds and temperature. August in Phoenix is still monsoon season, and some days are extremely humid with severe thunderstorms, and dust storms; others are very dry, reaching temperatures as high as 118 F. By accessing real-time weather data, and transforming it into media, the facade of the building will display animated media, that follows wind directions, display randomized and agitated patterns during storms, and more static slow moving warm color patterns with the dry heat. The large 90' screen will display beautiful and compelling data visualizations, synchronized with the facades fixtures, that will speak to some of the environmental issues that Arizona is experiencing these days. This first activation, that humanizes the building, by sensing, feeling and reacting to the weather, aims to draw the community’s attention, and spark conversations, and collaborations for future activations. Each month, the building shall activate in a new way, exploring different themes and issues. In order to accomplish these goals, significant software engineering and data visualization efforts must be made to add intelligence and real-time information to the media's displays. I have already started to ideate and prototype the software and hardware systems to simultaneously control all of the MIX Center integrated audio-visual displays, including the facade LED fixtures. I have also created a couple of curricular courses to involve grad students in the project that I’m currently teaching. To assure the success of the project, I’m working with MIX’s community manager Johanan Richards who provides a gateway to the community by facilitating monthly meetings and insight regarding conversations that citizens are having. Also ensure correct documentation and implementation of citizens feedback, and create a forum for conversations at city leadership, I'm collaborating with RVCollab, which has successful experience using emerging media for social and policy change.