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Some of the projects that pit the physical against the virtual in this current show feel like studies for public works, like the video Temporary Immersive Environment Experiments, in which lines of lights projected onto a black wall through a scrim repeatedly move downward, like a conveyor belt traveling to the floor.
"I think public space, it's so frozen, that people are going to lose their motivation to go out," Anadol says, looking across Beverly Boulevard as if its stillness is evidence of this. When he participated in 2010's Ars Electronica, the celebrated art and tech festival that started in 1979 in Linz, Austria, he projected shifting imagery created via algorithm onto the spare, concrete Tabakfabrik building, sometimes making the building look as if it had itself become a 2-D projection. In 2012, he and artist Alper Derinboaz did the project Augmented Structures v2.0 as Distilled Urban Experience, mapping soundscapes from urban and suburban areas in Istanbul, translating them into lights via a mathematical, predesigned program and then projecting these lights onto the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. The lights were sometimes smooth and sometimes aggressive, veering back and forth across the building's façade while a sound like firecrackers played from speakers.
"Projections are reality hacking tools," Anadol says, meaning that making invisible things — like urban sound — visible in a public way can infuse something new and disjointing into the veneer of the real world.
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His current project, one for which he has secured initial permission, involves projecting onto Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall. He will record the flamboyant Gustavo Dudamel conducting the L.A. Philharmonic, then translate Dudamel's movement into light that will play out on Disney Concert Hall's curved exterior, perhaps in celebration of the hall's 10th anniversary this fall, though nothing has been finalized, and dealing with L.A. bureaucracy is knotty.
The language Dudamel speaks to his orchestra — those frenetic gestures he makes that the musicians seem to understand — reminds Anadol of his own process, using software that doesn't entirely make sense but that allows him to do what he wants. "You are speaking with a computer to make something happens," he says.
But he thought of himself as an architect more than a conductor when working on the Young Projects show. He mentions Intervention 2.0 in the main gallery, a panoramic view of structures that at first look minimal and then baroque in a high-tech way. "These are spaces that an architect can create but will not create, seen from an impossible perspective," he says, adding that ideally, this is what happens when "artists go into space": possibilities change.
REFIK ANADOL: THE ACTIVE APPARATUS AND LIMINAL LANDSCAPES | Young Projects | Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd. | Through May 3