In our final preview for the Salone, we present "Social Cave" by the mysteriously-named Non-Linear Solution Unit (NSU), an interdisciplinary lab at Columbia University's prestigious architecture program, directed by Caterina Tiazzoldi with the help of interaction designer Mirko Arcese of BCAA.it.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Furniture Fair of Milan, the Salone Satellite chief curator Marva Griffin invited the architecture and design Research Lab Non-Linear Solutions Unit of Columbia University to develop a small pavilion project in response to the question in what direction is design heading.
NSU is concerned with some pretty cerebral stuff, but they're not just "envisioning the new frontier of socialization" in a bubble: Salone marks the unveiling of "Social Cave," an uncanny, interactive installation where real and digital space become one in the same. In other words, "Social Cave" is a step towards making virtual reality a physical reality.
Read all about it:
The digital age has dissolved traditional conceptions of space. Whereas socialization once existed entirely within the physical realm, the virtual world has invited new rules and interaction within a previously unavailable dimension.
Growing virtual connectivity has certainly created a network of unlimited communication pathways. Yet while our social reach has extended, relationships spawned by the web often remain confined to the digital space in which they were initiated. The protection of that dematerialization is seductive; intimacy must no longer be defined by physicality. Emboldened by the blanket of physical anonymity, we may assert a redefined sense of privacy and closeness.
By merging physical and virtual space, how can design affect the changing vista of socialization? Can design encourage a new platform for interaction?
We were invited to design a small, interactive installation that would be encountered by hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom are strangers to each other. In response, we have proposed the Social Cave, a typology that returns to the beginnings of our civilization. The Cave will blend the frenzied excitement of virtual connectivity's power and speed with the calm of its form and materiality, a parametric aggregation of 100% recycled and 100% recyclable foam cubes.
The barrier wall separating the two enclosures within the Cave ensures that visitors inhabiting each of those spaces are initially concealed from each other. The presence of a visitor in the opposite space is revealed only through an abstracted projection capturing his movements. The physical anonymity created by the enclosure allows each visitor to feel comfortable engaging in a digital and visual conversation with the projected "shadow" or "ghost" of the visitor opposite him. Gestures and personalities are therefore made familiar to each other before the initial physical meeting. Thus, the Social Cave first hides and then exposes the proximity and identity of its visitors, allowing a conversation to begin that transcends traditional digital physical boundaries.
Using the last 3d motion capture technology like Kinect & OpenNi, plus VVVV, managed by custom software, this application "reads" human behaviours combining two different stages into one virtual space; where the phisycal limit represented by a wall, becames the interactive social scene.