How do we translate an artist's work from one medium to another?
The Source is a multi-sensory artwork by artist Doug Aitken. The installation was housed in a pavilion designed in collaboration with architect David Adjaye during its debut at Tate Liverpool.
To get a better idea, watch this walkthrough of the installation.
First, we talked about the obvious, build the space in 3D. We didn't go in that direction.
From the beginning, our discussions were that 3D executions on the web could glorify the container rather than the content. It can be impressive but distracting for The Source, in particular.
I walked away with 3 concepts from Aitken's work. Randomness, intuition, and choice. So we designed the interface and architecture to reflect these concepts rather than the physicality.
Without the physical reference, we needed to find a way to connect the films above the superficial.
I've always been attracted to words and the printed pages.
While looking at Aitken's interviews. I ran across a project that reminds me of The Source in their intentions. Filmmaker Gary Hustwit had gathered all the interviews he had conducted for three documentaries into a book.
As I flipped through "Helvetica / Objectified / Urbanized: The Complete Interviews", I wrote down a few ideas.
We derive deeper meaning from reading.
They mark the passage of time.
It's sharable - Once you turn audio into words, then into bytes.
It's accessible - many things on the internet aren't.
These thoughts around "text" tied every interview together. Connected, not by the participants' expertise or fame but by the words they speak.
This felt good. The transcript became the tool that enabled us to connect all the interviews.
We worked closely with Doug Aitken to assign every dialogue with metadata. In the end, he distilled the conversations with all the artists and designers into 5 things.
His work became 5 stories. You can choose to see 5 narratives of The Source curated by the artist himself. Or, you can explore fluidly and have a linear experience similar to the physical installation.
Motion is a key ingredient. The state of User Interface today is propelled, not only by the placement of elements, but also by the way they move. I worked with Doug's team to prototype the entire site and worked with the geniuses at Active Theory to implement our design.