Info 601-02 Assignment 3: Observation by Michael Lewis
Due to my background in art and design, I chose to explore an art exhibition as my object of observation. A close friend of mine invited me to an opening of Oscar Oiwa’s Immersive Mural “BLACK & LIGHT” exhibition curated by Visionaire. In looking at this, I realized that this would be an excellent opportunity for me to conduct an observation of how people interact with each other and technology in a deliberate interactive environment.
Oscar Oiwa (53) is a Brazilian-American painter who is known for his Globalism movement in mural art. Throughout March 30, “BLACK & LIGHT” will be available for the public at Cadillac House, New York. The Japanese-Brazilian artist painted a black and white mural inside an inflatable dome with a surface area of 2,700 square feet. Oscar is well known for his signature surreal paintings and mythical characters like Light Rabbit and Shadow Cat. Events can, to some extent, be created or recreated (Buckland, 1991). In this case, Oscar tries to re-enact his art as a form of information for people in New York City to experience his idea and concept in a wonderful space of Cadillac House curated by Visionaire.
As I entered the Cadillac House building, a few hosts greeted me and asked me for the RSVP invitation. The event is very well curated and filled with people from the art and fashion industry. Guests are served with cocktails and hors d’oeuvre as they waited in the waiting room before they are allowed to enter the majestic-looking inflatable dome. As I was lining up to access the dome, I realized that all guests are required to use a disposable shoe cover provided by Visionaire. As a result, it prevented guests from ruining the paintings inside the dome. This procedure is a piece of evidence that the painting (information-as-thing) has to be preserved as much as it can due to its high value to the audience.
After a 10 minutes wait, I and the several other guests entered the 2,700 square feet dome covered in an astonishing black and white surreal landscape painted by Oscar Oiwa. They limit 20 people to be inside the dome to prevent any damage to the painting. It is beyond words of how information is transmitted as a knowledge between guests, technology, and the artist himself. I realized that few of the guests are from outside of the country and they are accompanied by translators who are fluent with their languages and able to explain the concept behind this amazing art space. In looking at this, I realized that this is a form of an embodied information, a corporeal expression or manifestation of information previously in encoded form (Bates, 2006), transmitted by the translator to guests who are more comfortable in their own language.
This event also provided an immersive experience where guests can interact with the painting through augmented reality. One of the staffs inside the dome approached me and introduced a feature that I can access through a gadget like a phone or a tablet. I was asked to access a site called jumpintothelight.com to experience the augmented reality designed by Oscar and Visionaire team. As I turn on my camera inside the dome, I can see Oscar’s famous Light Rabbit and Shadow Cat character running around across the painting inside the dome. It was such a breathtaking experience to witness a different form of embedded information, a piece of enduring information created or altered by the actions of animals and people in the world (Bates, 2006).
As each guest are only allowed to stay for some amount of time, I decided to exit the dome and join my peers outside to discuss our experience inside the space. As we have our own subjective opinion towards the display, a form of enacted information is being transmitted along to every individual in the discussion. After spending 2 hours in this fantastic space, I decided to leave and grab a postcard-look alike invitation designed by one of my closest friend who got invited to this event and make me as his companion. It is a 5″ x 7″ black and white postcard with a charming layout filled with Oscar Oiwa’s signature character Light Rabbit and Shadow Cat. We decided to keep the invitation as part of the evidence and memoir of our visit to the exhibition. This invitation act as communicatory or memorial information preserved in a durable medium which Bates called as a piece of recorded information. I am happy to say that I cherish every moment at the event and I do realize that this observation has given me so much information in different forms introduced by Buckland which are information-as-knowledge, information-as-process and the last but not least, information-as-thing as I brought the invitation back home as a souvenir from the event.
Bates, M. J. (2006). Fundamental Forms of Information. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, (57)8, 1036.
Buckland, M. K. (1991). Information as Thing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42(5), 351-356.