MIRROR

When attempting to picture a building – any building – what do you see? An intricate facade, an iconic silhouette, a soaring atrium? Components such as these are carefully designed to burn an afterimage in our minds. The visual detritus of the spaces we’ve encountered stays with us, sloshing around in our memories. In many cases, these fragmentary images are in fact the primary tool for composing the building, and in select cases, may be physically marked in the built condition as ‘photo ops’. (See bronze floor placards in Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho)  If, however, we were to preference the portions of the building with which we had the most sustained and intimate contact, then perhaps the lowly floor tile would ascend our collective memory heaps to become the foremost artifact of architectural appreciation.

Only in limited circumstances might you associate an experience with the floor as integral to the essence of a building. For example, consider the ability of high heels in a cavernous library to communicate something essential about the quality of the space. To correct this common negligence, this project constructs a false floor that exists to call attention to itself. Mirror facilitates the formation of a haptic feedback loop between person and building, amplifying footsteps into an unplanned orchestra of tremors.

Mirror employs an array of electronics to perform a chain of transformations which allow it to engage in dialogue every person who steps upon it: from a tactile/aural event (the footstep), to electrical energy (via microphone), to data (via microcomputer), to electrical energy (via amplifier), and finally back to a tactile/aural event (via transducer). A variety of audio processing techniques are applied by the microcomputer, dependent on the frequency of the incoming signal.

 

Significant aid was lent to this project by Jessica Gersony, whose performance demonstrated the possibilities for richness in our everyday interactions with the (terrestrial-bound) surfaces around us.

Special thanks to Aimilios Davlantis Lo for his illustration.

 

Materials: plywood, paint, microphones, raspberry pi, amplifiers, transducers, wires

Software: sonic-pi, qjackctl, patchage