EXHIBITION: Virtual Archive
Client State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Location Duisburg, Germany
This public art installation overcomes the paradox of the new state archives in Duisburg. The conversion of a former industrial building to house all the state’s important paperwork requires that all windows be sealed, rendering it a public building with no connection to the outside world.
By generating a virtual window in the public plaza, visitors glimpse into a fictive world of machines processing the archive’s mountains of paper. Inspired by such pop culture sources as Bjork’s music videos and Gregory Crewdson’s staged photographic art, the installation lies somewhere between a documentation of the building’s function and a dream-like expose on what it could be.
Peering into five ‘windows’, visitors see what appears to be an endless abyss cut into the ground, achieved with edge matched 3D holographic projections that create a seamless image. Populated by a cast of robots, conveyor belts and fantastically long bays of filing cabinets, the space appears real, with parallax and apparent depth created via holographic effects. Visitors should be surprised, amused and, with luck, come away unsure of whether what they saw was real or only a simulation.