This new studio is embedded in the previous research on the Transformer, but at the same time stands alone. We want produce a number of prototypes for the Transformer space. Partly physical, partly virtual. It results in a series of experimental installations. All installations use different materials and have different narratives, but all give answers to how the Transformer could be made, how you could interact with it and how it would feel to be in this ever changing space. In the installations, Transformer becomes tangible, touchable. In a way it becomes alive.
Dream of a prototype
Our dream is to make a life-size Transformer Room or even House. One you can show in public, have people enter and interact, even life in it for a while. A series of new generation case study houses. This is of course hard to achieve. Large installations require large budgets and a lot of space. To convince an investor like Siemens or Philips to build a Transformer House or Room with us, we need good examples. We need to know precisely, how we would make it. Therefore, we start working with models instead. With scale models, we can quickly test different materials and strategies. We can go to extremes and keep the worries of how to actually build something in real for later. In the model, we can play with foam, rubber, wax, liquids, smoke etc etc. Playing with real materials in a scale model might lead us to ideas, which we’d never thought of right now.
But whatever we make as a model, we treat it as a representation of a real, life-size room. Each model gets a drawing, made in CAD, on scale, describing how it could be made in real size.
Supermarkets and DIY
Instead of going into nanotechnology and biochemical science, we use what our kitchen, supermarkets and DIY shops can offer us to experiment with elastic, flexible, stretchable, moldable materials. We aim for the ‘look and feel’ of the Transformer space. Yet, while we play with it, we may discover many details, which were naturally left out in the previous studios. How does a wall act between two neighbors, which both change their space? How does it feel if my chair pushes me up? How close do I need to be to a wall before it creates a door for me? How blobby or straight is the transformer space?
From physical to virtual
The studio starts with direct, hands on experiments with materials. First we make something, then we reflect on it. It’s a learning by doing approach. Throughout the studio we get more intelligent, question what we propose, see how it could be applied and make connections with other research at the university and beyond.
The models give materiality to the Transformer. But we also want interaction. We want to step ourselves into the space and make it move, squeeze and extend.
To do that, we first need to translate physical in to virtual models. Both models are transformable, both show shrinking, expanding and adjustable spaces.
To experience the Transformable space, we want real interaction. We want our virtual and – if possible – also our physical models to change and adjust. The first way to do that is to pull strings, use sliders, blow air or heat in manually. The next step is, to use our grasshopper model for real time interaction.
To do that, we will work with motion tracking – Kinect – and connect it to our virtual model. And we try to connect the grasshopper model to an Arduino board, which can use as a physical output device, modifying our physical models.
To show our work in the end, all elements come together. We show the models, we show movies we made based on the physical models and on animations from the virtual models. And we make it interactive with Kinect and (possibly) Arduino. We show that not only as a wunderkammer of pieces, but as an installation which moves, explains, and experiences. It becomes a performance. It shows, how the Transformer can be built. And how it would feel to live in it.
Winy Maas, Ulf Hackauf, Adrien Ravon
Arslane Benamar, Catherina Lee, Dominik Saitl, Federico Gobbato, Hans Vlaskamp, Jordan Yerbury, Lex te Loo, Marine Manchon, Nadia El Hakim, Nicola Campri, Piet de Reuver, Rob Moors, Robbert Verheij, Roxanne Belot, Ruth Hoogenraad, Samantha Chia, Vincent Marchetto