Social Space and Electronic Installation

Bronet / Miller – Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts

Social Space and Electronic InstallationA collaboration between the School of Architecture and integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer (iEAR) along with local youth from the ARK (an arts and literacy center in a Troy housing project), Robert Parker (private) school, Poestenkill (public) Elementary School and El Centro to transform River Street in Troy, a former industrial corridor. Questioning the role of technology in physical and virtual communities, these artworks inaugurated plans for the creation of a community access art and technology center (see HUD COPC: Constructing a Two-way Bridge grant 2001.) Students from electronic arts, computing, engineering, community organizing and architecture interacted to develop first a set of installations and then a design for Community Access Arts and Information Technologies, for one of two sites on waterways of an industrial past – one in Montreal and one in Troy. These community spaces for technology, art and communication were set up to challenge notions of accessibility and community, and to present opportunities for the electronic and the physical realm to occupy the same “space.” Much has been discussed about the loss of community and of physical public space with the development of the technological and currently, electronic world. Phrases like “the technologized or bionic body” or “how the body matters in cyberspace” arbitrarily split the body continuum into discernible sections. These projects worked to understand how the electronic and physical realm are not clearly separable through experiments that move between the physical and electronic simultaneously. We looked at how architects and artists view and document space, how the actual documentation transforms our understanding of time and space, and how representation in any medium transforms the original experience.