A blank screen, the cursor is blinking. Visitors are asked to enter words. These words are floating to the centre of the screen and start forming two- and three-dimensional rooms: a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living-room. The rooms are making up an apartment. By entering words of their own choice, visitors are building a virtual apartment as a metaphor for their own personality. Their words are reorganized to reflect the underlying themes they express. The architecture is based on a semantic analysis of the words entered by the visitors. The apartments are clustered into buildings and cities according to their linguistic relationships.
Apartment is translated for MU into an interactive installation, allowing the viewer to build an apartment, 'visit' other people's apartments and monitor the construction of a city over a period of four weeks. Viewers who are not seated behind the keyboard, can watch the activities on two large projection screens.
Apartment is inspired by the idea of a memory palace. Using a mnemonic technique, Cicero, the Roman orator, philosopher and politician, imagined inscribing the themes of his speech on the walls of the rooms in a villa. He then recited that speech by mentally walking from space to space, establishing the equivalence between language and space. Apartment connects the written word with various forms of spatial configurations
Apartment formed (in a different version) part of Data Dynamics, an exhibition in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, in June 2001. The installation has recently won the first prize in the fifth Biennial for Media and Architecture in Graz, after which it was on display at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz.
Marek Walczak studied architecture at the School of Architecture in London and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union in New York. Martin Wattenberg holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Berkeley University, California. Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg live and work in New York.
Additional programming for Apartment by Jonathan Feinberg. For more information and images: http://turbulence.org/Works/apartment/