La Technologie Culturelle d’Objet was a sculptural piece commissioned by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, invited by Chief Curator Fumio Nanjo (Director of Mori Art Museum), as part of their inaugural “Imminent Domain” exhibition with eight other Asian designers. The piece is subsquently reinstalled at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as an addition to their sculptural collection.
“L’anthropologie des techniques est une branche de l’anthropologie qui s’intéresse à l’histoire, à l’usage et aux rôles des objets techniques, y compris leur rôle symbolique. L’étude ethnologique des techniques et des objets ne se limite pas aux techniques et aux objets considérées comme – traditionnels – ou anciens mais – galement aux faits contemporains.”
Grounded within the concept of the material culture and the basis of technology and object, the driver of this design is interfolded through data-sourcing and data-housing. The stainless steel objet (installation) itself is an interpretative piece that focuses on the contemporary examination and contextualization between the theory of the technicity, ethnicity, and the milieu of André Leroi-Gourhan.
Geometrically, the piece is inspired by the impossible objects theory. An impossible object (also known as an impossible figure or an undecidable figure) is a type of optical illusion consisting of a two-dimensional figure which is instantly and subconsciously interpreted by the visual system as representing a projection of a three-dimensional object although it is not geometrically possible for such an object to exist (at least not in the form interpreted by the visual system).
The LED lamps held within these interactive transparent acrylic rods represent the interchangeable activators and attractors of the city and its citizens, mapped into a singular location to be viewed at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. Each LED is embedded in an acrylic rod and is accentuated individually or clustered into units of stainless steel geometrical modules. The ultimate aim is to critically analyse the contemporary state of urban cities and their landscapes, the citizens within the cityscape, and a progressive understanding of their roles within each metropolis.
According to Leroi-Gourhan, in Milieu et techniques (1945), he develops a general theory of the relation between the technical (as universal tendency) and the ethnic (as specific, differentiated concretisation). The human group, according to Leroi-Gourhan, behaves as though it were a living organism, assimilating its exterior milieu via “a curtain of objects”, which he also calls an “interposed membrane” and an “artificial envelope”, that is, technology. The milieu of the organism is divisible into the exterior milieu (geography, climate, animals and vegetation) and the interior milieu (the shared past of the group, thus “culture”, etc.). This division enables a clarification of the concept of technical tendency. A tendency, according to Leroi-Gourhan, is a movement, within the interior milieu, that gains progressive foothold in the exterior milieu.
French philosopher Gilles Deleuze frequently cites Leroi-Gourhan in the two-volume collaboration and psychiatrist Félix Guattari entitled Capitalism and Schizophrenia. The hand/tool and face/vocalization couplings of Leroi-Gourhan play an important role in the development of Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of becoming and deterritorialisation.
Interactive information gathered from different nodes within the city is activated through media controlled LED lights that are embedded within housing units in an acrylic cube (2000mm x 2000mm x 1000mm). Each LED is accentuated as clustered units of reflective geometrical forms, which mimics and breathes with the beat of the city.
The geometric formation of the LED lamps embedded within reflective modular units represent the interchangeable activators and attractors of the city and its citizens, mapped into a singular location to be viewed at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. The stainless steel geometric objet is to critically analyse the contemporary state of urban cities and their landscapes, the citizens within the cityscape, and the progressive interpretation of their roles within the city.
The different combinations of LEDs are controlled by the interfaced information from the citizens, while the technological balance of the objet itself is a contribution piece activated by the user. The feedback from the space and the citizens will cross-pollinate and illuminate during the evenings, while the stainless steel geometric modular combined with the surfaces blurred together formed by the myriad of LED lights is the formal housing that represent the reflexive nature of activated milieu.
André Leroi-Gourhan has devoted much of his work in anthropology techniques, releasing both theoretical principles (concepts of trends and developments techniques, technical environment, supportive environment of the invention and the loan), methodological frameworks (methods of analysis of the degrees of fact and the operating chain) and a general classification of technical action. These fundamental contributions to the epistemology of the disciplinary field gathered in the works of Leroi-Gourhan: The man and matter (1943/1971), Environment and Technical (1945/1973), Gesture and Speech, vol. 1, Technical and Language (1965), Gesture and Speech, vol. 2, memory and rhythms (1965).
Commission: La Technologie Culturelle d’Objet Designer: Wendy W Fok Assistant: Kenneth Chi-Kan Wong Chief Curator: Dir. Fumio Nanjo (Mori Art Museum) Asst Curators: Amy Chow / Dominique Chan Engineering Consultant: Wing Dik Engineering Co. Ltd (Hong Kong)
EXHIBITION: Venue: Asia Society in Hong Kong Exhibition: Imminent Domain Dates: 31 January 2013 – 31 March 2013 Opening Party: 30 Jan, 2013 / Press Opening: 28 Jan, 2013
MATERIAL: Stainless Steel Frame / Variable LED configuration
SPONSORED BY: Create HK Hong Kong Design Centre the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Asia Society