Strange Weather

Ibañez Kim

Within room G7.1 in the East Gate complex of the Seoul Biennale, visitors enter a space defined by a ceiling grid occupied by volumetric tiles, and floor tracks with movable modules. The ceiling tiles and the movable modules are networked so that citizens and visitors alike affect, and are subject to, an indoor meteorological system.

Unlike a typical suspended grid found in office environments, the ceiling tiles of Strange Weather do not conform to human-centric occupant expectations. Whereas the normative ceiling grid supplies conditioned air, humidity control, and lighting, the Strange Weather grid produces a more exo-environment that is not predictive nor subservient to human desires.

Vaporizers, high-lumen LEDs, and heaters are placed in the ceiling grid within the tiles. Each ceiling tile is made of either densely wrapped carbon fiber in lieu of acoustic ceiling tiles and air diffuser units, or translucent polyethylene for ceiling lights. They are actuated by a multiagent system programmed so that each node works together with ascending orders. Different combinations of moisture levels, temperature, and lighting produce a range from dry and unnaturally bright, to dark and clouded.

Visitors physically interact with the modules that are located on the floor. These ground modules move on tracks, thus allowing flexibility in rearranging the space,  and in forming different seating/climbing assemblies.

As visitors sit, lounge, and socialize, their patterns of play are measured and entered within the multiagent system.

The electronic systems are ESP8266 wifi modules with Arduino microprocessors that are continually sensing and signaling different outputs of the Strange Weather system vis-à-vis real-time human input.

What the visitor understands from this exchange is the artificial distinction between inside and outside. Human-centric, controlled interior environments are not easily separable from the natural world, and that anthropocentric intervention has consequences across scales in nature.

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[1] Simon Kim, “Polyhedra,” Immersive Kinematics, http://www.immersivekinematics.com/polyhedra-1.
[2] “Mark Yim, Professor and Director of Integrated Product Design Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics,” Penn Engineering, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, https://www.seas.upenn.edu/directory/profile.php?ID=107.
[3] Mariana Ibañez, Simon Kim, and Andrew John Wit, “rolyPOLYGON,” Ibañez Kim, http://www.ibanezkim.com/work#/rolypolygon/.
[4] Mariana Ibañez, Simon Kim, “Confessional,” Ibañez Kim, http://www.ibanezkim.com/work#/confessional/.
[5] Andrew John Wit and Simon Kim, “rolyPOLY. A Hybrid Prototype for Digital Techniques and Analog Craft in Architecture.” Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe Conference (eCAADe), Oulu, Finland, August 22-26, 2016, pp. 631 – 638.