Goldfarb lecturer will show off key York subway station feature

British artist, architect and interaction designer Jason Bruges is the featured speaker for the 2011 Goldfarb Lecture in Visual Arts on Jan. 26 at York University. He will discuss his groundbreaking studio and its innovative practice in an illustrated talk, “Visualizing the Invisible”.

Jason Bruges Studio is an art and design studio based in the United Kingdom. A team of architects, lighting designers and specialists in interaction and industrial design, the studio creates customized interactive installations, interventions and spaces that intersect the worlds of architecture, site-specific installation art and design. Projects for its international clientele range from large-scale building facades and public art to interactive interior environments and products.

Right: Jason Bruges

Bruges will present some of his studio’s current creative projects, including the public art commission for the TTC’s York University subway station currently under construction, and artwork for the University of Oregon’s newly opened Matthew Knight Arena.

For the York University station, Bruges is creating a LCD light installation that visualizes the airflow generated by dynamic rhythms at play within the station: the movement of people and the arrival and departure of trains.

The random choreography of air resulting from these movements will be translated into an ever-changing, four-dimensional artwork by means of thousands of 10 by 10 cm LCD screens mounted above the platform areas and on the back wall of the station. The screens will act as a digital canvas for a unique, real-time animation that is activated and controlled by algorithms interpreting the data collected by air movement sensors in the tunnels and around the station.

Similar to those found on solar-powered calculators, the screens will have a very long lifespan and will not use much more energy than what it takes to power a laptop computer.

Game Show, Jason Bruges Studio’s artwork in development for the Matthew Knight Arena, will track the movement and flow of play on the court in real time, using an overhead camera. The live activity will be displayed on the work’s 3D textured liquid crystal surface in the home team’s colours of deep green and lightning yellow. Outside of game time, the work’s surface will be animated by the motion and volume of fans passing through the tunnel, increasing in intensity with the increased flow of fans entering the arena.

Above: The Jason Bruges Studio was commissioned by Philips to develop Mimosa, an interactive artwork displaying behaviour that mimics responsive plant systems. The piece was inspired by the Mimosa family of plants, which change kinetically to suit their environmental conditions.

Like the York University station artwork, Game Show is conceived with a view to sustainability: the entire installation will use only as much energy as a 60-watt incandescent lightbulb.

Bruges trained as an architect at Oxford Brookes University and University College London and worked with the architectural firm Foster + Partners in London and Hong Kong, and as senior interactive design consultant at Imagination before launching Jason Bruges Studio in 2001.

Shelley Hornstein, professor of architectural history and urban culture in York University’s Department of Visual Arts, will speak in response to Bruges’ talk, followed by an audience Q & A.

Presented by the Department of Visual Arts in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Bruges’ presentation is the seventh in a series of free public lectures made possible through the generous support of Joan and Martin Goldfarb.

The 2011 Goldfarb Lecture in Visual Arts takes place Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 4:30pm, in 312 Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, on York’s Keele campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.