Over this weekend and next, desert revelers at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will have the opportunity to enjoy the innovative work of Güvenç Özel, a faculty member in UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design.
“Holoflux,” his 60-foot–tall installation on the festival grounds, combines a steel-and-wood structure with a vinyl color-gradient surface. From a distance, it looks like a sculpture, but closer up, it becomes a special piece of architecture — one that festivalgoers can walk underneath and around as its surface print plays with perceptions of three-dimensionality.
“I consider architecture or the human experience as an ecosystem of different media,” Özel, a cyber-physical architect and critical technologist, said in a description of his piece, the second he has created for Coachella.
His UCLA courses explore the impact interactive media and emerging technologies have on architectural experiences — and the larger human experience. “It’s interesting to think about emergent technologies not as an add-on or as an overlay,” he said, “but a fundamental part of the experience. They’re designed simultaneously to create that experience.”
During the day, the installation serves as a portal to a digital ecosystem of forms that weave together and continually change with the surroundings and lighting conditions. And it appears different from every angle. From certain directions, it looks symmetrical and stable; from others, it appears to lean, almost defying gravity. At night, real-time video images from the festival are projected onto “Holoflux,” creating an effect in which the sculpture seems to become invisible and then reappear.