PUBLIC ART | Westfield - RobertKoshgarian

    CONTOUR INTERVAL, IS A PROPOSAL TO INSTALL A PIECE OF PUBLIC ART IN WESTFIELD'S NEW DEVELOPMENT, "THE VILLAGE" SHOPPING COMMUNITY; WOODLAND HILLS, Ca. THE DESIGN IS A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE ARTICULATION OF A PUBLIC ART AND THE REPRESENTATION OF LOCAL ECOLOGIES SURROUNDING "THE VILLAGE."

"THE CORE CONCEPT FOR THE "CONTOUR INTERVAL" INSTALLATION, IS TO CREATE A COMPELLING CONNECTION BETWEEN EACH VISITOR AND THE BLENDED URBAN/ NATURAL ECOLOGIES SURROUNDING THEM."

     WOODLAND HILLS IS LOCATED IN THE WEST SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, APART OF THE GREATER LOS ANGELES COUNTY. ENCOMPASSING TWENTY-FIVE COMMUNITIES SURROUNDED BY THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS TO THE SOUTH, SANTA SUSANA MOUNTAINS ON THE NORTH, SIMI HILLS TO THE WEST, AND OVER THREE MILLION RESIDENTS TO THE EAST. THIS IS WHERE WESTFIELDS HAS POSITIONED ITSELF FOR ONE OF ITS LARGEST DEVELOPMENTS TO DATE.

    TO BEGIN, A CHOICE WAS MADE, TO USE DATA AS A CATALYST FOR AN INITIAL DESIGN CONCEPT. THE CONTOUR INTERVAL TEAM, COLLECTED SATELLITE MAPS AND LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY; TO CAPTURE THE REALITY OF THE AREA. THE TEAM BEGAN USING IMAGE SAMPLING SOFTWARE AND PARAMETRIC ALGORITHMS, WRITTEN IN HOUSE, TO EXTRACT GRAPHIC INFORMATION OF THE TOPOGRAPHICAL MAKE UP. THIS DATA BEING THE ESSENCE OF BOTH THE URBAN AND NATURAL ECOLOGIES THAT MAKE UP WOODLAND HILLS. THIS DATA WAS 

COLLECTED, ANALYZED, AND TRANSLATED INTO VECTORS OF PIXEL SIZED INFORMATION. KEY TOPOGRAPHICAL DATA WAS THEN SEPARATED INTO DIFFERENT GRAPHIC LAYERS OF INFORMATION.

    LAYERS OF CONTEXT DATA, ABSTRACTED FROM SATELLITE MAPPING, WERE BROKEN DOWN INTO PIXEL SIZE DATA POINTS. THESE DATA POINTS REPRESENTING ROUGHLY A THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF INFORMATION. THE CHOSEN DATA TO USE FOCUSED ON TERRAIN HEIGHTS, SOFTSCAPE VS. HARDSCAPE, AND DENSITY (BUILDING OR PLANT DENSITIES), FOR EACH THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT BLOCK

    THROUGH DIFFERENT GRAPHIC FILTERING METHODS, TONES BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE WERE APPLIED TO EACH PIXEL DEPENDING ON THEIR HEIGHT ABOVE SEA LEVEL. THEN THE SIZE OF EACH PIXEL WAS SCALED TO MATCH DENSITY AND FINALLY, DIFFERENT COLORS TO REPRESENT HARD VS SOFT.

    THE THREE DIFFERENT GRAPHIC REPRESENTATIONS OF DATA DESCRIBED ABOVE WERE FURTHER ENLIGHTENED BY THREE DIMENSIONAL MODELING SOFTWARE COMBINED WITH PARAMETRIC/ GRAPHIC SCRIPTING SOFTWARE. THE SOFTWARE ALONG WITH SOME SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN ALGORITHMS, OUTPUT A FIELD (MAP) WITH DEPTH, BLENDED DISPERSION OF COLOR, AND VARYING EXPOSURES.

Project by |   Robert Koshgarian

                      Jun Li

                      Sorayos Chuenchomphu


Initiating a Concept | Form / System Discovery

    MANY DIFFERENT FORMS, MATERIALS, GRAPHICS, AND IDEALISTIC VISIONS WERE CONCEPTUALIZED BEFORE A FINAL IMAGE WAS PRODUCED. THE TEAM, HAD COLLECTED GOOD DATA AND EXTRAPOLATED IT FOR FLEXIBLE USE IN FORMAL REPRESENTATION. HOWEVER, DISCOVERING WHAT WE WANTED WAS KEY. TO CREATE A FINAL IMAGE, WE HAD TO CREATE A NUMBER OF DRAFT IMAGES. THIS MEANT EXPLORING EXACTLY HOW EACH OF THE THREE PIECES OF DATA WERE REPRESENTED PHYSICALLY BEYOND THE PIXEL. IDEAS OF OPEN VS. CLOSE, TRANSPARENCY, EXPOSURE, AND LIGHT VS. DARK, TO REPRESENT DENSITY. LENGTH OF OR DISTANCE FROM TO REPRESENT HEIGHT, AND COLOR OR PATTERN TO REPRESENT HARD VS. SOFT WERE ALL CONSIDERED.

    THE MOST DIFFICULT OF THE DECISIONS WAS, WHAT SHAPE WAS THE FACE TO REPLACE THE SQUARE PIXEL OF DATA. STRUGGLING BETWEEN LITERAL ELEMENTS OR ABSTRACTED FORMS BECAME A CONSTANT DISCUSSION. BY USING VERY BASIC PARAMETERS OF PHYSICS APPLIED TO THE DIFFERENT IDEAS OF REPRESENTATION, THE BASIC PRACTICALITY OF FORM VS. FUNCTION BEGAN TO FILTER OUR IDEAS DOWN. WHAT SHAPES OR COMBINATION OF SHAPES CAN OPEN OR CLOSE WAS ONE OF THE FEW FILTERS.


The Screen |   Color, Depth, Transparency, Exposure, Reflections...

    INSPIRATION FOR CONTOUR INTERVAL IS SIMPLE, “CREATE A COMPELLING CONNECTION BETWEEN EACH VISITOR AND THE BLENDED URBAN/ NATURAL ECOLOGIES SURROUNDING THEM." BUT, CONCEPT VS. REALITY TENDS TO INITIALLY RAISE MORE ISSUES THAN IT SOLVES. REALITIES OF CREATING EFFICIENTLY BUILT AND COST EFFECTIVE SPECTACLES BECOME MAJOR PROJECT DRIVERS. THIS IS WHERE BEING PROACTIVE IN THE BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF MATERIALS AND THEIR ASSEMBLY BECOME VERY IMPORTANT. TRANSFORMING A MASS OF GRAND IDEAS INTO AN ESSENTIAL “KIT OF PARTS.”


Local Contours |

    A TECHNICAL CONCEPT FOR CONTOUR INTERVAL IS “GEO-GRAPHICAL” (TOPOGRAPHY, INHABITANTS, AND PHENOMENA BLEND WITH SOCIAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCE), WHERE RECOGNIZING THE CONTEXT OF PLACES AND REGIONS PROVIDES AN IDEAL FRAMEWORK TO ESTABLISH THE UNDERSTANDING OF INTERACTIONS BETWEEN VISITOR AND THE URBAN/ NATURAL ECOLOGIES. IT IS AS MUCH PAINT-BY-NUMBER AS IT IS AN APPROACH TO ART DRIVEN BY REFERENCE-ABLE DATA. EXPLORING WAYS OF REPRESENTING “GEO-GRAPHICAL” LANGUAGES USING AN ASSEMBLED KIT OF PARTS. CONTOUR INTERVAL EXPANDS ON THE EXISTING LANGUAGES OF GEOGRAPHY WITH CONCEPTS BORROWED FROM THE “STUDY OF PLACES AND REGIONS.” GLOW, DEPTH, PERSPECTIVE, AND INTUITION PAVE THE WAY FOR ARTISTIC INTERPRETATIONS THAT REFRESHES THE SPIRIT OF “PLACE MAKING,” REFINED BY PHYSICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF RE REFERENCE-ABLE DATA. ALLOWING THE FINAL IMAGE TO CHANGE WITH THE FLUCTUATION OF IT’S CONTEXT.

City Mapping Methods |


Behind the Contours |


Kit of Parts |

    SMALL CHANNELS ARE ATTACHED TO THE STRUCTURE IN A GRID. FROM THAT GRID, RODS AND TUBES ARE ATTACHED AT VARYING LENGTHS, DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC PETAL TYPE. THOSE RODS ARE THEN ATTACHED TO STEEL PLATES THAT BECOME THE ACTUAL “PETALS” OF THE PROJECT, WITH AN ACRYLIC PIECE AT THE END FOR WEATHERPROOFING PURPOSES. THE LED IS FED THROUGH THE TUBE AND INTO THE PETAL BASE, IT’S COLOR COMING FROM THE LED SOURCE IS CONTROLLED BY REMOTE CONTROL SYSTEM WHERE SEQUENCES OF LIGHT COLOR AND ON OR OFF CAN BE CHOREOGRAPHED LIKE A LARGE DISPLAY.

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