The Point of Perspective

Dimensional Installation | Interactive Design | Experience Design | Coding

A classmate and I were assigned to select a Wabi-Sabi moment then replicate that experience. Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.

We chose the historic Michigan Theatre. The ornate building was turned into a parking structure in the early 1970s, from that point on it slowly decayed, losing all of its fine detail and majestic nature. Except for the “mirror room”. This four-story atrium was lined in decadent mirrors and framed with pure gold, in it’s prime it glowed, but today it stands covered in dust. The mirrors stood opposite to a window, facing the street. Upon entering this atrium, the array of mirrors refracted light and distorted images of the city, it’s not until you stand in the exact middle where the images line up to show the perfect skyline of downtown Detroit.

The Installation

This moment is what stood out to us as Wabi-Sabi. This was the clarity, the “Aha!”, the moment of sudden revelation and insight. Upon first glance we saw the city in ruins, and after carefully adjusting our perspective we were rewarded with magnificent beauty. We wanted to recreate this feeling and share it with others.

Our goal was to make the user feel overwhelmed in the images of ruin and destruction then at peace when they found the hotspot. To accomplish this, the user had to be almost engulfed in the room, so we took two projectors and aimed them up to the ceiling at each corner. The video was static-filled and stressful clips, but switched to a quiet forest upon entering the specific zone.

The project turned out great. We lined up both projectors seamlessly, had stereo sound for emphasis, the video content expressed frustration while the user wasn’t in the hotspot and peacefulness upon finding it.

The Point of Perspective from Harry Master on Vimeo.