The Making of Wave. Particle. Duplex. by Studio SWINE

A behind-the-scenes film featuring the A/D/O by MINI Designers in Residence.

Plasma and fog, are elusive states of matter, inherently fleeting and difficult to grasp. During their six month residency at A/D/O, Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami of Studio SWINE (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) experimented with these substances to create an immersive exhibit illustrating their discoveries and revelations. Driven by research and curiosity, Studio SWINE’s work results in ethereal projects that expose unseen qualities of the natural world.

Transdisciplinary in its approach, Studio SWINE has been exploring what it terms “ephemeral tech,” bridging new technologies with “real ephemeral materials that have a life of their own and a fragility which feels closer to experiencing nature.” In New Spring, which premiered in Milan, Studio SWINE programmed a willow tree-esque sculpture to drop fog filled bubbles onto the captive and delighted audience. Their piece, Infinity Blue, combined reaction diffusion-algorithms, smoke rings, and scents inspired by primordial worlds, to create an immersive monument to oxygen-producing cyanobacteria. While at A/D/O, they continued their inquiry into “ephemeral tech”and worked with local artisans to reflect the “kinetic energy” and the atmosphere of the city.

“We see the role of the artist as visualizing the invisible world around us […] We hope to create work that can connect us with our environment and the physical laws that are happening all around us which simultaneously are so everyday and so full of wonder” Alex and Azusa implore. Wave. Particle. Duplex. does just that.

Built into a walled off maze in the A/D/O atrium one enters first into “Dawn Particles,”an entirely red room where plasma in the form of Krypton glows through hand blown glass tubes programmed to subtly pulse. Plasma is what our sun is made of, the aurora borealis, stars, and lightning, seemingly intangible yet the most abundant matter in the universe. “In a way it is the most ordinary material” Studio SWINE posits. Plasma is made real to the viewer in four undulating glass sculptures and the effect is mesmerizing. Azusa expresses,“It is like capturing a part of the universe and creating a drawing with it.”

In the next room two “Fog Paintings” hang in a gentle yellow nook. Reflecting the quality of New York’s light, “smoke billowing up from the district steam system and the squally coastal weather,” SWINE used dichroic filters, light, and fog to create abstracted landscapes. Inspired by the way practitioners of the Hudson River School such as Thomas Cole “use the depiction of nature and light to evoke the feeling of the sublime,” Studio SWINE’s dreamy mechanized pieces express the natural phenomena of sun passing through clouds and gases. Layered embodiments of research, discovery, tech, and craft Azusa and Alex have created concrete portals for an audience to learn and interact with otherwise abstract, ethereal materials and concepts.

“The whole process since we came out and started experimenting with fog and plasma has been a constant series of unexpected discoveries,” they reflect “There’s something infectious about the spirit of innovation and investigation which abounds though A/D/O that we really enjoyed creating new work in.” From making smaller scale work that expresses these concepts to a new public piece on water infrastructure, which they modeled for the Water Futures exhibit last year, the findings of this residency have informed and inspired Azusa and Alex as they move onto their next creative ventures.

Text by Lily Saporta Tagiuri

Videos Directed by Adam Sjoberg and produced by Loose Luggage Media.