Lan Wei-LookingOutwards-01

The structure in operation

The artwork was done by David Bowen in 2010. It really interests me because the artwork integrates physical and visual worlds together and fascintes people while confusing them. Modern technologies always give people the impression of aligning nature, but in this artwork nature and man-made object are connected harmoniously and a new mode of ‘nature’ is created. This is a very small piece of artwork and it can serve as a prototype. I can see the potential that the idea being used in creating spatial experience. For example, building a house using the technology might enable people living inside feel how wind moves around the house, which is amazing.

In fact, David Bowen also did a piece of artwork that utilizes movement of objects to imitate the impact of wind. Again, for me the loop of ‘learn from nature, imitate nature, create a new nature’ is the most interesting part of the artwork.


LO – 02 – Alexander Chen

In 1757, Johann Philipp Kirnberger wrote a piece based on the randomness of dice. This system, called Musikalisches Würfelspiel, used the values of dice in coordination with preassigned options to compose a piece. The result, “Der allezeit fertige Menuetten- und Polonaise Komponist,” is one of the earliest forms of this type of music.

I admire the fact that this type of generative art (music in this case) is not only something that’s relevant today but also something that’s been around for almost 300 years. Even though this is a very simple and arguably outdated, way of doing generative art, it still qualifies and obviously has stood the test of time.

The artist’s creativity still shines through this otherwise seemingly systematic way of writing music. This is because the preassigned options are still determined by the composer.

Daniel Teague – LookingOutwards01


During my time at my high school, I was friends a number of people who were on the VEX Robotics team. VEX Robotics is a competition sport where a team divides itself into various groups, each one of which works to design, build, test, and ultimately pilot a robot. The criteria for the competition changes each year, and the competitors must constantly improve and test their designs. As a continuous and evolving sport and project, I was always somewhat fascinated by this, especially as technologies related to robotics, programming, and Artificial Intelligence (there is an autopilot phase for each match) become more advanced and more important to our everyday lives. It also introduced me to the possibility and area of robotic sports, where robots or remote controlled machines are piloted in the pursuit of some goal/objective. VEX Robotics shows how programming is affecting more than just computers and may soon have very tangible impacts in our everyday lives.

Jason Zhu-LookingOutwards-01

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Colorspace is an interactive sculpture that translates text messages into breathtaking animations of colored light. It was created by Sosolimited & White Wing Logic over the course of a few months. When you send a text message to a specified number, the tubes will illuminate along the walls with the color of the corresponding text message. I think this is done through some system of data query. For example, sending a red lipstick emoji will result in red lights being illuminate sequentially along the path.The indoor installation that aims to bring a playful vibe to a community as well as increase community ownership over a space. The tenants of the community are encouraged to stop and interact in a common shared space. The interaction is not only fun but also serves to build and strengthen the users emotional stakehold in that space. The user is in many aspects, communicating with the building in an elegant manner that reinforces positive notions of that community space. This concept can be applied in a multitude of mediums and across a variety of spaces in the present and future, but it seems best suited to be placed in spaces where users have a lack of or no emotional connection to, but spend a significant portion of their time. Other applications could include schools and workplaces.

Philip Gates – Looking Outwards 01

Yesterday Tomorrow, by Annie Dorsen

Yesterday Tomorrow, photo by Maria Baranova

In 2016, I saw the theater director Annie Dorsen’s performance piece Yesterday Tomorrow, in which three performers sing a song over and over. The song starts out as “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and ends as “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. The transition between these two songs is accomplished by an algorithm that changes both the notes and the lyrics by a very small amount with every repetition, and does so differently at each performance.

Dorsen has been using algorithms in performance for several years, beginning with Hello Hi There, a work for two custom-programmed chatbots, in 2010. The algorithm for Yesterday Tomorrow was developed specifically for the project, in collaboration with a programmer and a researcher from IRCAM, a French institute for the study of music and science.

I am inspired by the use of programming to tap into very human concerns and emotions. Though a program is of course emotionless, its deployment in performance can produce a variety of emotions in the audience: nostalgia, anxiety, frustration, melancholy. For me, this piece was a profound meditation on the passage of time and the fleeting uncertainty of the present moment.

Miranda Luong -LookingOutwards-1

Expansive view of Connected Worlds at NYSCI.
Visitors interacting with the digital environments projected on the walls.
Children use gestures to plant seeds. 

Connected Worlds at the New York Hall of Science is a large-scale immersive and interactive digital ecosystem. Visitors are invited to make gestures, movements and decisions to manipulate the environment around them. As visitors explore and play, they learn to realize that their actions have both short and long-term effects on their surrounding world. Upon visiting, I read that the installation was designed to encourage participants to adopt a more systems thinking approach to sustainability. In this space, users contribute first hand to feedback loops, create casual links and influence the equilibrium of the environment. Connected Worlds is a great example of an effective project that is fun but very educating. The task of educating children on the core concepts of sustainable science is not an easy one. I’ve encountered many exhibits that try to educate children on sustainable science such as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s “We are Nature: Living in the Anthropocene.” While these exhibits show a lot of effort to educate visitors on the need to think of local and global effects of their actions, the strongest feelings taken are guilt, rather than real understanding. The creators of Connected Worlds understood that the best way to teach someone something is to have them do it themselves. By providing children the chance to “build” their own environments, they could see the direct effects their actions had on the micro and macro level— no complicated explanation necessary.

Jennifer DeLuna-Looking Outward-01

I first saw this work during one of the Artist Lectures hosted by the School of Art last year. Ian Cheng’s computer generated simulations, which he titles Emissaries, are ever changing environments and narratives. There are three Emissaries, based all in different environments. One is based in a Volcano, another in a fertile crater, and the last is based in an Atoll.  In his process, he draws from the works of Darwin and the concept of video games. The simulations are essentially video games that play themselves; video games that become an avenue to explore deeper themes such as evolution and behavior.

KPolhemus – Looking Outwards-01

When thinking about what to research for this first Looking Outwards assignment, my mind immediately went to Florence, Italy. Once the cradle of the Renaissance, this Tuscan town now serves as headquarters for art restoration and preservation. Two years ago, in 2016, la città commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the devastating 1966 flood of the Arno. It was the worst flood the city had seen in 400 years, damaging countless numbers of priceless works of art. Among them was Giorgio Vasari’s 1546 “ultima cena,” a 21-foot wood-panel painting. It was submerged in the floodwaters for over 48 hours inside la basilica di Santa Croce.

The Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD) is an “art hospital,” dedicated to restoring and preserving works of art like Vasaris’ last supper. This painting in particular sat untouched for a number of decades, until the OPD felt confident enough with the available technology to begin restoration. Using microscopes with recordings of photographic and digital images, x-ray equipment, infrared cameras/scanners, spectrocolorimeters, and a number of other advanced technologies, the OPD dwas able to restore Vasari’s masterpiece and put it back on display in Santa Croce.


I chose to write about this topic because although the technology used by OPD is not necessarily used to create entirely new works of art, it is used to restore old masterpieces to a former state of glory. In doing so, the OPD uses this technology to provide the public with countless works of art that could have very easily been lost for good.

Jacky Tian-Looking Outwards 01

Looking Outwards 01 Bund Finance Center

Front view of Bund Finance Center in Shanghai, China.

In my hometown Shanghai, China, a new mixed-use complex called the Bund Finance Center has just finished its last construction phase. Designed by Norman Foster’s Architecture Firm and Thomas Heatherwick’s design studio, The Bund Finance Center becomes a new iconic figure for The Bund in Shanghai.

The goal of this building is combining elements from both traditional chinese theatre and the most advanced digital technology. This three stories tall building contains a curtain-like facade of bronze tubes that resonant the shape of bamboo. These bronze tubes are organized in three layers, creating a semi-transparent screen for the building. The facade, which many architects described it as “a moving veil”, can adapt and transform based on the use of the building, therefore, exposes the stage and balcony to the views towards Pudong.

As an architecture major student, I was inspired by the connection between architecture and digital technology. With the help of technology, this building is not static anymore. It becomes a living machine in which it can achieve functionality and aesthetic at the same time.

Links to original sources:

Sean Meng-Looking Outwards 01

Dynamic Tower, Dubai

As a architecture student, I’m always interested in exploring the cross area between art and technology. And some buildings are the perfect combination of these two area. This building is called Dynamic Tower in Dubai and it is designed by David Fisher and his firm. This skyscraper is 1378 feet tall and has 80 floors. The architect intended to let the building “dance” by designing each floor to rotate a maximum of 6 meters per minute, or one full rotation in 180 minutes. What is really fascinating for me is how the architect challenges the traditional perspective that buildings should be solid and still and brings life to the architecture by applying technology. It inspires me to think about how technology and make architecture artful and attractive other than just plain boxes. However, the building took longer time to be finished than expectation due to the enormous amount of efforts and budget required.