Jennifer Steinkamp, professor of design media arts at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, has received both a public spaces and an education CODAward for her work “Eon.” The CODAwards celebrate projects that most successfully integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural or public spaces.
“Eon” is a 30-by-9-foot digital installation commissioned for Welch Hall, the largest academic facility at the University of Texas at Austin. In this site-specific work, Steinkamp blurs the line between the biological and virtual, visualizing a fictional scene of primordial life, rendered through multiple layers of digital animation.
“Eon” draws inspiration from the concept of symbiosis, the mutual cooperation of unlike organisms. Biomorphic shapes undulate across the screen, punctuating an aqueous backdrop with bursts of pink, yellow, and multicolored fragments that resemble a swarm of living organisms and plants. The installation transforms the main corridor of Welch Hall into a hyperreal, simulated natural world while signaling the research that takes place within the building.
Nature, twisted and changed through technology, is Steinkamp’s signature subject, and since the late 1980s the artist has produced a wide range of computer-generated realities. By manipulating existing computer code, primarily using the 3D animation software, Steinkamp transforms architectural spaces with light, dematerializing walls and filling the constructed environment with hyperreal and, simultaneously, clearly artificial mimicry of organic forms.