Cyber-physcial architect, Güvenç Özel, sews the digital and physical with his — offering to this Coachella Valley Music and Arts Fesitval. His Holoflux transcends the physical into a digital ecosystem where things are never at it seems. The 60ft structure itself elicits light, projection, and graphics to emulate different identities and perspectives as it transitions from day to night. For Özel technology has become a storytelling device. It has become about perceptions, how we reflect upon what we see, how we capture it and then ultimately how we frame it.
“I consider myself a cyber physical architect and a critical technologist,” Özel shares. “Cyberphysical, meaning the work covers cyberspace and physical environments and the interaction between the two. Critical technologist, meaning engaging with new technological tools—their meaning, their impact in our social interactions, their impact on our environmental and political considerations, and how we can create more meaningful and engaging experiences to enhance the way that we socialize and communicate with each other.”
See here, Güvenç Özel, as he partakes in the next evolution of nature through his work, Holoflux.
Tell me about the smaller aspect of the piece in green.
Those are meant to like scale the piece down, so that people can have an interaction with a much smaller scale than the larger piece. Because the larger pieces are more like a cathedral, like gathering that pinpoint in the center of the festival. And then those are about, basically, the moments to sit down and reflect. They also visually tie into the augmented reality piece. So if you were to activate the AR, they look like they're fragments of the digital world in the physical world. So you will see these like reflective, bubbly forms. And these warm light forms in the augmented reality. And they look like they're frozen moments in the physical world, but they migrated from the digital world.
So it's about the spectrum of reality from digital to the physical, back and forth. So there's quite a lot of heady understandings about how humans experience, the digital versus the physical and how it how it reflects upon our perception of reality. I think what is interesting about reality is that it has a quite an interesting relationship to history. I think history is like more about writing that history, the same way in which we documented reality, like if you think about photography, and film, when it was first invented, it was about capturing reality.
I see new methods of representing reality, which is algorithmic, which is about AI. I think AI is also becoming about control and history, and how we write that story of history. And I find that to be fascinating because we keep trying to invent technologies to depict reality, as accurately as possible, and if they're so open to meet the population and storytelling, so there's a critical angle to the entire piece. But also this about like making people feel exhilarated, feel fascinated, feel, you know, big and small, at the same time, you look at the piece, it becomes two dimensional from afar, and then it becomes very three dimensional when you go near it. So it's about that kind of shift on perceptions, about the relationship between graphics and architecture, about 2D versus 3D. So it's about how we construct and design reality.
In the contemporary world is the image more important? Or is the experience more important? Especially in like a festival and like a music space. I think, like I can see like an analogy where like, watching music as a festival, it's like a universal and like, mass experience. But when you're listening to someone you love its such an intimate experience?
Exactly. And this is like for an artist and designer, it's like a laboratory because you have these confined boundaries of like, a set number of people that are only able to do a certain set of things. And you can really design something and measure the impact of how you're designing and really observe people and how they're behaving and how they're interacting with your project. And that's, that's such a fascinating learning experience.
And I think there's also a distortion of memory versus the actual moment.
I think that is exactly so fascinating about machine learning, is that it's all about memory, it's all about culture memory. Algorithms are learning from our collective experience, and generating from that experience, right. But it requires human input. It still requires like us to guide the algorithm. Like for me, like what seemed interesting about it is the artistic license and like agency, like how can I as a creative, be able to guide the algorithm to make people feel a certain way? You know, It cannot just be a free for all. You have to have an agenda, you have to have a motivation to like use that technology, just like any other tool. And like I find it very naive and bizarre for people to just use the technology for the sake of using that technology.
For me, it's about the meaning of that technology, it's about the impact of that technology. It's about how it contributes to my creative input, to enhance the way that I make somebody feel a certain way. And I think that's like, that's human communication. And that's so fascinating to me, like, because the only reason why we do design and art is about having an impact to somebody else's life, to have them think about something in a different way to have them have a different experience than their normal routine. So, you have to have that kind of agenda and that level of intention, I think, to be able to use the tools to control that technology and have that level of finesse. And I think that's really important to me. I have no fear of how technology impacts our lives, because ultimately, we have to determine the agenda. And if we don't, then that's our failure.
To be honest, I'm so scared of AI. It's nice to know that there's like people out there with beautiful Intentions.
To me, AI is an extension of humans, because we are creating it. And humans are an extension of nature. So that's why in Holoflux we have a three prong form, like 1-2-3, they each represent different aspects of like human connectivity. One of them is humans. The other one is technology. And the third one is nature. And it's about the continuity between those relationships. Human technology is an extension of nature because nature allows us to conceptualize these technologies and embed them. And it is an obsession of nature for us to be able to create this. it's very important to recognize that because human creations are not a threat to technology, and I think this is a false dichotomy, that humans are in opposition to nature, But we are actually the next step in the evolution of nature.