Diorama(n)tic is a responsive landscape that produces an immersive space directly related to the dwellers sensorial input.

Here, the immersiveness is materialized as a spatial enclosure created by three interrelated parts (1) landscape, (2) sensors, (3) actuators.

1-The landscape is neither natural, nor artificial, but instead is somewhere between an animal and an inanimate object. Shaped around multiple postures it’s skin varies between smooth and bumpy regions while also being populated with flowers and hairs.

2-The emotional state of the user is read through three inputs that are synthesized to determine different levels of arousal and valence (i.e. mood). The measuring of heart rate, sweat levels, and facial expressions read and computed in stimulating the landscape’s response.

3-Through the sensorial data (the emotional state of the user), the landscape reacts, ejecting a quantity of fog and changing lighting color depending on what it’s detected.

Through this loop, the project speculates on a relationship between human and architecture as both object and space, allowing the influence of each other’s presence to never be fully resolved, but instead constantly mediated and negotiated.


What prompted the project?

When we began speculating on the project there was something about trying to unpack human emotions which are as active as they are withdrawn, something we found profoundly intriguing and what we started to consider as the ‘fourth wall’. In film the term is used to describe the invisible barrier that contains and hides the production set and that separates the audience from the narrative. However, in some cases the wall is broken, either directly or with subtlety for different reasons; we’ve started to question what breaking the ‘fourth wall’ in architecture and it’s narratives might mean.

What questions does the project raise and which does it answer?

What would a dynamic spatial condition provoke in human behavior and how might spaces be shaped if we redefine how they’re conceived? What happens when all things can feel and be felt? What we found is that as much as addressing architecture it asks us to consider what is the human condition of today?
For us, it began answering questions related to other forms of communication, whether it be between humans and objects, or media, spectacle and spectator.

How important are the drawings and photographs of the project as testament of an architectural investigation when the installation will cease to exist?

We understand drawings, photographs and 3D scanning as mechanisms to work through the project rather than a representation of the performative criteria. For example, the landscape is shaped around multiple postures directly informed by 3D scans of people in different positions; perhaps comparable in some ways to the photographs of Étienne-Jules Marey.

What informed the different photographs you choose to capture the installation through?

As it deals with this question of autonomy, relations, behavior, dialogue and emotions, we sought to capture a series of moments in different scales and proximities able to transmit that.

How does each medium from, video to gifts and static photographs talk about the project in a singular way? if you had to talk about the project through one medium which one would this be and why?

We didn’t want the documentation to over explain it and instead have it be an experience in itself. This thought for us resonates with the project, as each photograph gives a different perspective or tone, as does the video, and so the only option one has when viewing them is to decide how, if anything, they feel towards it and to some degree project themselves into it. Of course there are moments in the video and in the photos that reveal the human actor which give a hint of narrative without being overtly didactic, through which we were able to explore the role of the video in a new way and much more as piece in itself that can be severed from the artifact.

What tools were implemented in the development of the project, from concept to research to execution?

Our working process generally implements a series of tools and materials in a non linear workflow through mixture of media, techniques, bouncing between the digital and physical. On the one hand we used 3D scanning for human postures and digital/algorithmic modeling in defining the landscape, which was 3d printed and mocked up from 1:100 to 1:1 iteratively, changing scale and form throughout. For the flowers we went through various digital and analog tests before settling on a 3d printed version. As for the sentience and actuation of the piece, we combined bio-metric sensors and a webcam for reading the emotions and an Arduino for computing and actuating the lights and fog.

How important was the drawing and models as means through which to test the project?

The models in this instance is where we found most the validation in decisions, the tangibility and three dimensionality in physical space at various scales, from the overall size of the landscape, it’s peaks and valleys, as well as the more micro patterned bumps on the surface. This is perhaps due to the project’s nature to intimately deal with a 1:1 relationship between human and object.

What is for you the architects most important tool?

Maybe for us the thread isn’t so much in tooling itself, but rather in narrative, and more specifically in its role to simultaneously reveal and project new realities.

How and to what extent has the opportunity to develop this project affected you as an architect?

The project allowed us to deal with questions that are architectural but that also deviate a bit, allowing us to explore the human condition in today’s regime of media and emotion while pushing onto narrative in a way that challenges our everyday realities and engage with the fourth wall.


Project Pareid (Deborah Lopez + Hadin Charbel)
Electronic Development Yimsamer

Cinematography / Direction Francisco Lobos

Financial Support Proyecto financiado por las Ayudas Injuve para la Creación Joven 2017/2018