LA Exhibition at Materials and Applications

Hi friends.  I’ve had some difficulty setting up here for strange reasons… but here I am… although I’m unable to post pictures.

Check out this exhibition located in the Silver Lake neighborhood of LA and enjoy my review below!

Eddy Sykes: Yakuza Lou

Materials & Applications

October 11, 2008 – March 2009

Eddy Syke’s fascinating robotic piece, Yakuza Lou is currently on view at Materials & Applications, a non-profit dedicated to Architecture and Landscape Research which hosts site-specific installations at their space in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.   As the principal of a 3D design firm, ChersonProm, which specializes in kinetic architectural systems , Sykes chooses to abstractly explore new configurations for the interaction between industrial design, systems and nature in this work.   Born from ideas quite distanced from the end result visually and from an obscure tessellation pattern created in the late 1960s, this mechanical landscape of sorts functions as a strange and futuristic model of natural phenomena. 

Upon entering the gated garden area at Materials & Applications, visitors see the sculpture glowing from within its predominantly concrete surroundings.  A platform of lushly growing grass and weeds sits atop a patterned surface, which looks like an unfolded piece of origami paper rendered in metal.  Underneath this platform is a complex system of brightly colored wires and metal poles.  Hanging from above, facing this platform, is a stunning sculpture of explicitly psychedelic colors in another pattern and formation, which again appears as origami, but also as a virtual cloud from a video game.  The curious placement of these two elements, as well as the convergence of highly artificial colors and metal with the greenery in the sculpture and in the grassy areas of this outdoor space, allows the installation to immediately function as a poetic musing on a futuristic industrial culture. 

Yakuza Lou’s activation is triggered by the viewer’s physical presence and movement.  Both elements start moving slowly and somewhat jerkily, distracting from any reference that is possibly being made and from any expectations about how the sculpture will physically transform.  Similar to the experience of first approaching the still sculpture in the space, when first observing these strange movements curiousness is again the predominant sentiment of the work.  The movements seem to imply the idea of mechanics itself until viewers can finally get a sense of the type of physical transformation that is occurring.  The real beauty of this piece becomes evident when elements begins to unfold, or to bloom, so that both become convex shapes facing each other with their intricate jewel-like colorful patterns revealed.

The robotic installation now becomes harmonious, allowing one to find references to jewels, landscapes from an aerial perspective and natural phenomena.  The octagonal plots of greenery atop the platform of the bottom piece expand and grow. The space between the two elements, which was once strange, vague and disorienting, is now similar to the space between stalactites in caverns.  The virtual cloud looks down to the greenery below just as the sky and earth reflect each other in perfect balance. While this sculptural installation as a whole is bold and exciting, the play that Sykes creates between artifice and nature is subtle and contemplative.








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