The two-dimensional rectilinear shape of the modern multimedia display, or “screen”, was established through successive economically sustainable technological innovations. Its form was derived from factors of technology and economics, not aesthetics, not psychology, nor other social factors. Still, the screen carries with it an embedded set of social and architectural conditions in which we consume content via a screen. Such conditions include the movie theater, the living room television, the desktop computer display or multi-display, the lone mobile screen, the VR headset, etc. While some of these forms of display permit a shared experience they predominantly isolate the user, from the world, from society, and from truth.
Considering the digital display as a malleable, three-dimensional material in the toolbox of designer and architects, what other social and architectural conditions might arise from new and alternate forms of video display? What are the extremes, limitations, and dangers of a single-user society? How content choreograph society? What if large-scale public media devices existed? What form would they take? How could the public interact with these forms? How can alternative forms of display positively affect society?
The Field Studies series explores these questions through a number of model-scale vignettes composed with a decidedly simple and accessible formal vocabulary of human figures, light-emitting screens, and landscapes. Each scene depicts an existing or alternative display form, and the associated societal organizations each form dictates. These scenes will include scenes such as fields of isolated mobile users, celebrations of massive media monuments, riots armed with media-weapons, and speculative utopian landscapes populated with numerous alternative media forms.
The first vignettes in the Field Studies series, including Center Pivot I, Watering Hole I, and Black Plane I have been developed for exhibition atop pedestals within the context of a gallery or museum. Later iterations will be designed at a larger scale to be displayed outdoors where they will become site-specific engagements with the natural landscapes.