Void

Oslo, Norway

Eiris - Media City Bergen

project

Eiris

year

2017

Eiris is an interactive sculpture commisioned by Entra for the opening of a new media complex in Bergen, Norway. Its name stems from a conceptual interplay between Iris, the goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the Olympian gods, and the central part of the human eye. The sculpture acts as a physical analogy for the prism of social media that refracts information and delivers personalized content to each user, pre-bundled in an emotional wrapping.

The installation is always online, pulling content from local news-sources through their Facebook pages. The information is then coupled with the sentiments of users that interact with the content online, gauging “likes”, “wows” and “angrys” et cetera, and presented within the crystal as an endless tapestry of colored text and image fragments. Different sentiments are connected to different visual cues, like colors, intensity and pace, to convey the emotional undertone of the content that is being displayed.

As a personification of the underlying algorithms, a synthetic iris moves around within the sculpture, frantically searching for subjects to present its content to. The proximity of visitors affects a variety of parameters like light intensity, text legibility and the motion and expressive features of the iris. Together, these reactive properties are incorporated with the intent of achieving the Eliza effect, the human psychological tendency to unconsciously assume artificial behaviors to be analogous with human behaviors.

Informed by the geometric language of the surrounding architecture and the media complex’s visual identity, the sculpture was shaped through a generative process of intersecting planes at pseudo-random angles, inspired by naturally occurring triclinic crystalline structures. The bottom section is cast in black concrete to create a stable foundation on which to mount a precisely constructed steel structure. Along the inside LED-panels and custom made ticker-screens are assembled from a series of low profile LED-strips. The structure is clad with tinted plexiglass and semi-transparent, reflective foil that functions as a one-way mirror, effectively creating endlessly repeating patterns of content while leaving the sculpture completely opaque when “asleep”.

The installations behavior is controlled by custom-made software built on top of openFrameworks and a Node backend for data acquisition and processing. Four Microsoft Kinect 2.0 cameras gather sensory data that is processed on separate hardware and forwarded to the main application for integration and control.

Cinematography, editing and grading by TYD Filmproduksjon