Including a multi-channel sound installation by Edmund Campion
With technical support from CNMAT Music Systems Designer, Jeff Lubow
March 7-April 14, 2017
Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery
Department of Art and Art History
San José State University
The Flower Matrix is a liminal space, an imaginary “Alice in Wonderland” world of inversion where the rational order of reason and technology turns in on itself. The Flower Matrix exists as a virtual reality environment for Oculus Rift and Vive platforms, but it pushes into the real world as well, for the artist creates actual hand-thrown ceramics, quilts, and wallpaper, all of which form the decor of the Flower Matrix. Hart’s decorative patterns are in fact also computer codes – augmented “tags” functioning like QR – that permit users, via her custom-designed augmented reality app called “The Looking Glass,” to see her fantastical embedded animations. Using their smart devices, viewers can look through the app to glimpse a world of pulsing invisible flowers harvested from the Flower Matrix, covered with animated graphics culled from Internet signage, computer code, and emoji graphics. Programmed by the artist, her multimedia craft objects are metaphors that unfold, using computer vision to reveal “magical” layers of new information.
Hart’s wallpapers, carpets, and ceramic tiles were specifically created as décor for a new kind of “virtual reality” lounge, a seductive environment made for viewing her Flower Matrix VR world. In the Thompson Gallery she has built another liminal space, but this one in the real world, where one might don VR goggles and view her parallel VR one: a mixed reality fantastical architecture that randomly grows and decays using an aesthetic of fakeness where technology has replaced nature. It is both sugary sweet and chemically toxic in equal measures.
The audio track for the Flower Matrix is a multi-channel audio composition by composer Edmund Campion, the director of CNMAT – The Center for New Music and Audio Technology at the University of California-Berkeley. Creative programming is by Yan Zhou, Chicago, with technical support from Music Systems Designer, Jeff Lubow, Center for New Music and Audio Technology, UC-Berkeley.