Unconventional Mediums

ink sculptureIn Kenya Hara’s “Senseware”, he argues that the designer’s role is to create an “aggregate image” or a response in the viewer of his/her project. This response is created by sensory inputs (sight, touch, smell, etc), in addition to memories invoked by these inputs. He coins this idea “the architecture of information because generating this aggregate image is intentional and calculated”. Hara also discusses how “the medium is the message” of a project. He explains how paper can be a medium itself, and communicates creativity, intelligence, blank possibilities, and inspiration.

pavilion expo

I believe that the exterior of the Mass Studies’ Korean Pavilion project uses language as a medium much like the paper that Hara describes. Rachel Blunstone’s “Korean Pavilion at Expo 2010” article claims the project is an interplay between “sign” and “space”, where the signs become spaces themselves and vice versa. The white panels contain combinations of letters from the Korean Han-geul alphabet in four different font sizes, while the smaller colored “art pixels” contain one single letter. Even the shape of the building itself forms portions of the Han-geul alphabet. Blunstone claims that “visitors of all cultures can experience Han-geul because the geometry of their horizontal, vertical and diagonal movements transcends language”. The graphic application of language is less about what the individual letters are communicating and more about the overall relationship between “sign” and “space”—the panels of language becomes a sort-of abstracted textile to highlight the letter’s shape, color, size, and arrangement.

water sculpture

This abstraction of letters reminds me of Shinchi Maruyama’s images, which capture fleeting moments of liquids (ink & water) tossed in the air. Again, the medium is abstracted to the point where water or ink become more like a “sculpture” or art form than the familiar liquids we use on an everyday basis. Maruyama claims his work was partially inspired by his use of traditional Chinese sumi ink as a child and the “Japanese ability to find to find beauty in the imperfect”. I find it interesting that regardless of the source of inspiration or intention for the Korean Pavilion and Maruyama’s photography, the viewer is still able to appreciate the abstracted medium for its aesthetic qualities and the unique, unconventional application of language and liquids.

Blunstone, Rachel. “Korean Pavilion at Expo 2010 by Mass Studies.” DeZeen Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2012. <http://www.dezeen.com/2009/04/15/korean-pavilion-at-expo-2010-by-mass-studies/&gt;.

Hara, Kenya. Senseware: Medium that Intrigues Man. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 152-59. Print.

Maruyama, Shinchi. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2012. <http://www.shinichimaruyama.com/portfolio/permalink/384426/4ab8f78a666a04&gt;.


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