Oscillation

Submitted by The Urban Conga

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Client: NYC Downtown Alliance

Location: New York City, NY, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Artist

The Urban Conga

Client

Downtown New York Alliance

Management

Creos

Overview

Oscillation is an interactive installation that focuses on using sight, sound, and movement to spark community activity and social interaction into a once underutilized space. The piece is made up of five parts that are deconstructed from a solid cube using a Voronoi algorithm. Each of these units acts as individual giant theremins so as one walks closer to the piece it plays different sounds and pitches based on your distance to it. As one continues to move through the pieces they also realize the colors of the pieces change based on their movement as well. This open-ended playful interaction creates a platform for people to socially engage with one another in a public space they would have just onced passed through.

Goals

The crystal-like forms appear as if they are growing from the ground creating an immediate visual attraction. The forms are created using a Voronoi algorithm which deconstructs a solid cube into sections that are placed throughout the space. This connected relationship between the pieces creates a cohesive environment even though the pieces are spread apart. As one begins to walk closer to the pieces a sound begins to resonate that changes pitch as the person moves around the piece. This theremin-like interaction will allow the user to create their own sounds and music with the installation as their instrument. The piece then becomes not only something great to look at and take selfies in front of but also a hub for community activity that begins to spark spontaneous conversation between strangers. The playability of the piece begins to break down social barriers and get people to physically engage with one another in a once underutilized space. As Plato once said "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation," and these are the moments we pushed to create with "Oscillation."

Process

For this project, we worked with CREOS as the management team for the project and the New York City Downtown Alliance to choose an underutilized location. People constantly walk by this space to get from one place to another, but rarely stop to engage with the environment and people around them. Our goal was to create a piece that not only got people to stop and look around and engage with the space around them but also each other. The work sparks spontaneous relationships, dance parties, photoshoots and more within the space that was once seen as a pass-through or in-between space.