APARTMENT by Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg www.turbulence.org/Works/apartment
On a blank screen, viewers type in texts of their choice. Rooms appear on the monitor as a two-dimensional plan, similar to a blueprint. The architecture is based on a semantic analysis of the viewers' words, reorganizing them to reflect the underlying themes they express.
This structure is then translated into navigable three-dimensional dwellings composed of images that were the result of Internet searches for the words previously typed in. Viewers may navigate these 3D environments, while the texts they typed are read back by means of text-to-speech software.
The "apartments" created during the exhibition and on the Apartment website are clustered into cities according to their semantic relationships. The cities can be arranged according to semantic complexes such as 'Art,' 'Body,' 'Work,' 'Truth'--the apartments with the highest occurrence of the respective theme will move to the center.
Apartmentis inspired by the idea of the memory palace, a mnemonic technique from a pre-Post-it era. In the second century BCE, the Roman orator Cicero imagined inscribing the themes of a speech on a suite of rooms in a villa, and then delivering that speech by mentally walking from space to space. Establishing an equivalence between language and space, Apartment connects the written word with different forms of spatial configuration.
Martin Wattenberg is a New York-based digital artist and information designer. His work focuses on visual explorations of information masses: databases, communities, conversations, and other conceptual collections. Recent projects include WonderWalker (2000), in collaboration with Marek Walczak, commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis;SmartMoney Map of the Market (1998); work on the Rhizome "alt.interface" collection; and "www.bewitched.com" (1997-99). He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley (1996).
Marek Walczak's on-line and installation pieces merge architecture, interface design, and performance. Previous works includeWonderWalker (2000, in collaboration with Martin Wattenberg, commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis;Switch( 1998-99); VRML Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (1998), commissioned by the Walker Art Center;Adrift(1997-2000), a multi-location performance with Helen Thorington and Jesse Gilbert, first performed at Ars Electronica 97, Linz, Austria;Suspension (1997), in collaboration with Jordan Crandall, at Documenta X, Kassel, Germany; and Mapdance( 1997), a 3D multi-user Web-based performance in "PORT: Navigating Digital Culture," and exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, and the Irvin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, New York.