Reactive Media Display

Project: Research

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The number of screens now manufactured has surpassed the number of humans on the planet. Mediated environments today have become so pervasive, it is difficult to think of a moving image that is not electronic; we rarely say ‘digital’ display anymore as the assumption is so ingrained in our culture.Electronic screens are always attached yet rarely integrated, usually added on after the fact. Hence most media understanding does not consider the relationship between the screen and its placement. Media is a skin that does not reach to the bones, the structure of our environment.Smart materials are designed to react to changes in the environment. Even subtle shifts in light, temperature, noise, moisture, pollutants, and more can cause dramatic changes in color, form or structure. These emerging material behaviors allow a rethinking of the relationship between “skin and bone” and ultimately between media and environment.Furthermore, through the ability to transform energy from an environmental input into a visual language, smart materials and their reactions can become a new form of reactive display design. This emerging media will shift from the independent to the integrated and yield opportunity for a new media art, free from the screen, yet still able to convey information, narrative and aesthetics.By bringing scientific, historical, cultural, technical and artistic considerations together into a single project to explore the potential for reactive materials, this proposal suggests a new design process. Instead of materials being selected at the moment of fabrication, we are articulating design through iterative material experiments and documentation.This new media results from environmental and material properties.We propose a two-folded approach to our research and dissemination. First, with support from previous industry relations, we will establish a catalogue of reactions. This initial research will be followed by a series of iterative design explorations, using the identified reagents to form new prototypical displays responding to the environmental changes.Due to the interdisciplinary complexity, we will collaborate with experts Dr. Vincent Ko, a top researcher in Applied Chemistry, Dr. Sarah Kenderdine, a seminal figure in the design of large scale displays, Mr. Louis Lai, a local automotive industry leader andPresident of SAR Motorsport and Mr. Tobias Klein, an architect and researcher in 3D printing. We will conduct periodical meetings and symposia-like structures that will be recorded and edited in the form of journal articles, an exhibition of the prototypes and a book format.


Project number9042443
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1714/12/20

    Research areas

  • Smart Materials , Media Art , Display Technology , Sustainable Design ,