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Through Momentum

An interactive installation by the field of Interaction Design at the ZHdK in collaboration with Lucid

Short Description

The interactive kinetic light installation "Through Momentum" reflects the process of digitization and brings its aspects closer to the visitors in a playful way. The installation consists of 48 intelligent and networked luminous objects suspended from the ceiling and a digital interface on the tablet. Visitors can walk through the installation and be surrounded by the way giving and approaching luminous objects, or control the light intensity of the individual luminous objects with finger gestures via the digital interface.

Long Description

Today, digitization reaches almost all areas of life and economic sectors and requires a massive rethink on the part of manufacturers and users. The classic product is intelligently extended by sensors, digital interfaces and thus networked with other digital systems. This opens up completely new and exciting possibilities for the use of these products on the one hand and the creation of value through the product on the other. For users, this means that, for example, devices with which they surround themselves respond much better to individual needs. The automobile, which meets the basic need for individual mobility, can also access and actively use data from the network to increase security, allow access without a physical key or even take control of simple sections of the road. For the manufacturers of the products, digitization makes it possible to transform the product into a platform for further services. In the future, owners will be able to offer their vehicles to others when they are not in use, store surplus energy in the batteries installed or even carry out transport orders autonomously. The exciting question of the future will be how we deal with these possibilities of digitization.
The installation "Through Momentum" reflects the process of digitization and materializes aspects of it in an interactive kinetic light installation which will be shown during the "Volvo Art Session 2017" in the Schiffbau hall in Zurich. The interactive kinetic light installation symbolizes the digitized product. It consists of a grid of 48 intelligent and networked luminous objects suspended from the ceiling. Visitors to the exhibition can interact with Through Momentum through various channels. For this purpose, the illuminated objects have several sensors to detect the visitors in the vicinity of the installation. By means of motors, the luminous objects are able to change their height and retreat when visitors walk through the installation. As soon as a visitor is below the grid, they approach carefully and surround the visitor in this way. Light thus becomes the representative of the digital envelope that surrounds us every day.
The second access to the installation is provided by the tablet application. The light intensity of the individual luminous objects can be controlled via the digital interface. The interface is synchronized in real time, which means that all interactions will be visible to all visitors. This digital interface transforms the system of illuminated objects into a platform on which visitors can meet and interact with each other. The connection of the local interaction with the light objects in the room and the control via the digital interface brings the topic of digitization closer to the visitor in a playful way.

Artists' biography

The installation was developed in a collaboration between the Interaction Design (IAD) programe of the ZHdK and Lucid, a design studio of IAD Alumni. Joël Gähwiler and Moritz Kemper take over the artistic direction of the IAD, supported by a team of five students from the Department of Design.
Moritz Kemper and Joël Gähwiler teach the courses "Physical Computing" and "Spatial Interaction" at Bachelor's level. In addition to teaching, they run the "Physical Computing Lab" at the ZHdK in which new technologies, materials and processes are developed. Moritz Kemper focuses on "Tangible Interactions" while Joël Gähwiler concentrates on "Internet of Things".
The team of students consists of: Alessa Gassmann from the 1st year of Interaction Design, Alexander Blaschek from the 2nd year of Interaction Design, Ilaria Stendahl BA Interaction Design, Noemi Chow from the 2nd year of MA Interaction Design, and Simona Oswald BA Industrial Design.
On behalf of Lucid, Marco Ehrenmann and Jonas Scheiwiler are responsible for the entire technical implementation as well as the coordination of construction and operation on site in the Schiffbau hall. The studio was founded in 2015 by four Interaction Design graduates of the ZHdK. They create and play with space - digital and physical - and design at the interface between technology, art, architecture and design.

We would like to thank Fabian Ellenberger, Mona Neubauer, Luke Franzke, Alex Bradley, Guido Gähwiler, Gabriela Gähwiler, Alexandra Surenmann, Kathrin Neumann and Adrian Reinhart for their help in implementing the project.