If you wanted to incorporate water into an architectural space, there are a couple of different options available. You could fuse aquatic art directly into the space with fountains or aquariums. You could also go a much more environmentally friendly route by utilizing energy-generating water turbines or a water-based air-conditioning system. A rather unique approach — one that has been gaining steam in recent years — is to incorporate aquatic digital art into the design.
A new group of architects and artists, bodydataspace (b>d>s), created by Ghislaine Boddington and Armand Terruli want to explore intuitive artwork in public space by marrying the convenience of technology with the beauty of water. Bodydataspace’s idea is truly as ingenious as it is bizarre: they want to project an image of a waterfall onto the sides of buildings in Canary Wharf, a district that contains London’s tallest building.
The system would basically operate just like a movie theater, except that instead of putting a movie up on the silver screen bodydataspace want to use a 235-meter-tall concrete skyscraper.
The really cool thing about this idea is that it isn’t just stock footage of a waterfall. They want to continuously stream images of Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall at 979 meters. Basically, they would set up a recording device at the foot of Angel Falls and transmit the footage thousands of miles northeast to London. This would give Londoners a chance to experience a gorgeous South American landmark through the medium of digital art.
This idea is great and all, but it naturally raises a couple of questions. First of all, you have to wonder whether or not such a powerful projection of light would disturb office workers in the building. If the projection is strong enough to show up in the middle of day, then it’s also probably strong enough to hurt the eyes of everyday office workers. You also have to come to grips with this new style of artwork. This digital art piece might have breath-taking visuals, but without the accompanying roar of water that you expect from a waterfall it might seem eerily silent. That isn’t really a downside, persay — it’s just an interesting quirk of this art medium.
If you can get past these issues, then this new style of art opens up a whole new world of public art, especially for aquatic art. For example, you could project images of water, bubbles, and fish onto the interior walls of a mall to make it feel like shoppers are walking along the bottom of the sea floor. You could transform the dull tile floors of a building into the rippling waves of an ocean shoreline. The possibilities are virtually endless, and the versatility of projected art allows artists and architects to alter the image as frequently as they like. It really makes you wonder why projection didn’t already replace billboards and murals years ago.