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July 6, 2020

Space, Time, and Light particles – Yunni Cho, BRDD 21′

by Yunni

On Friday, July 3rd, we had our first group meeting on Zoom between Mexico, Germany, and South Korea. After spending the first month on online communication to share each other’s ideas and projects, we finally found a time that works for everyone to “meet” and “talk” to each other. Our call was at 8AM in Mexico, 3PM in Germany, and 10PM in South Korea. And from now on, all of us agreed to have this group call on every other Friday to have time for check-in and verbal presentation.

Our first zoom meeting started with my presentation. I shared my progress on both Transient Stillness and Choreography of Light. Verbally presenting my ideas through Zoom raised a few questions and critiques from others to clarify some of my ideas and to modify graphic designs for an easier reading. It also gave me a list of tasks to be prioritized to explain my ideas and intentions more clearly. For instance, when I was presenting four preattentive visual properties, I realized I needed more information about their origins and differences from other properties, such as contrast or brightness and darkness. And Luca (from Mexico) raised a very interesting point that all these properties occur simultaneously in real-life, but my project attempts to separate them, which potentially can allow us to understand how we process visual information unconsciously.

After my presentation, Luca shared some of his time-lapse videos and photographs of a workshop he previously led. His presentation focused on the idea of movement, questioning the speed and sequence of how light moves throughout the day. More specifically, Luca is interested in the difference between natural light and artificial light. And he is currently working on a videography project to understand whether artificial light is static or moves at a different pace compared to natural light. The workshop he led also focused on finding creative solutions to capture movement of the Sun. The workshop happened during the sunset in Mexico for an hour, from 7PM to 8PM. During this time, participants developed so many interesting devices, such as a sun clock made out of bamboo sticks and a mirror installation projecting colors of the sunset. Luca generously shared these photographs to find ways to incorporate them into our projects.

At the end of our call, all of us realized that this Zoom meeting was extremely helpful and inspiring for each of our projects. Ulrike (from Germany) then suggested that all of us should write a short explanation for our next meeting on how we envision what can come out from these projects and our expectations for the final outcomes. Now that we scheduled this group meeting to happen on every other Friday, we all are so excited to individually work on our ideas and have a presentation in two weeks. 

This week in Germany, Ulrike Brandi and her office organized a public workshop in collaboration with the LUCIA team. The workshop explored different ways to observe and understand light in a public space. Local residents were invited to experiment with the different effects of light at the pilot site and discuss their opinions. The pedestrian tunnel “Elbschlosstunnel” was the investigated area, where the perception of light and color with different materials were tested. The results were documented with video statements from the participants with short questionnaires. As I am working on my projects alongside Ulrike’s office (Ulrike Brandi Licht), we will continue to share the progress on these public workshops to find ways to incorporate some of the knowledge and experiences that were gained from face-to-face interactions.

As this week marked the end of the first month of my fellowship, I spent the whole week on doing research and literature review. I focused on the theme of space, time, and light particles by reading Toyo Ito’s Three Transparencies, C. Rowe and R. Slutzky’s Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal, Kenneth Frampton’s Ando Tadao, Steven Holl’s Time, and Richard Feynman’s Photons: Particles of Light. From these readings, I was able to better understand different types of mediums to transfer light and their abstraction within the architectural realm. Literature on ‘transparency’ defined the terminology both as a material condition and a moral overtone. In a very poetic manner, both authors discussed the materiality of light and how it gets symbolized in our lives. It was also interesting to think of space as a time keeping, clocking device through which we perceive different conditions and movement of light. Ando Tadao’s architectural practice with shadow and light particularly stood out in understanding how light gives us a sense of time and how space can be a device to visualize this interaction.

I read Richard Feynman’s theory on Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) out of curiosity. I wanted to understand the physics behind why light works the way it does. Feynman’s theory focused on interpreting forces between electrons as particle interactions rather than that of the magnetic fields. His chapter on ‘photons’ from The Strange Theory of Light and Matters was very mathematical and complicated for me to comprehend. In order to finish reading his chapter, I had to watch Feynman’s explanations from the lecture recordings found online. With no background in physics, I couldn’t fully understand the QED theory, but Richard Feynman definitely gave me a more analytic and scientific view towards mechanisms behind light particles.

I am hoping to incorporate some of my thoughts and reflections from these literature into my projects in the coming weeks. Next week, I will be completing more hand drawings of daylight and write more chapters about the use of artificial light. And I am thrilled to start the second month of Maharam Fellowship with Lighting Detectives.

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