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Pixels Wave 2015: A Virtual Universe Set In Motion

At the recent Night Festival in Singapore, leading international digital artist Miguel Chevalier collaborated with local creatives to produce a giant moving light carpet that lit up the atrium floor of the National Design Centre. We find out more about the installation titled “Pixels Wave 2015”.

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BY Janice Seow

September 23rd, 2015


Top image: Pixels Wave 2015 pattern by Miguel Chavelier. Photo by Zee

Multi-coloured graphic scenes composing of symbolic motifs from the digital universe, known as pixels, moved like a wave across the atrium floor of the National Design Museum last month as part of the Night Festival, endlessly forming and losing their shape as they ‘danced’ to the music of Michel Redolfi.

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Pixels Wave 2015 pattern by Miguel Chevalier. Photo by Zee

Aptly titled “Pixels Wave 2015”, this generative and interactive virtual reality installation featuring 65 different patterns was the second project in Singapore by pioneering virtual and digital artist Miguel Chevalier from France. This was also the first time that Chevalier was partnering with two Singaporean designers – Carolyn Kan, founder and designer of jewellery brand Carrie K., and fashion label Depression.

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Pattern by Carolyn Kan for Pixels Wave 2015. Photo by Zee

Chevalier’s Pixels Wave installation has been shown in such significant architectural sites as the courtyard of Château Comtal in the City of Carcassonne [France], and in the Matisse Museum, in Le Cateau-Cambrésis [France], with the artist producing new patterns and graphic scenes for each new project.

“Pixels Wave harks back to the idea of the trompe l’oeil technique in art, disturbing the perceptions of visitors while creating the sensation of a shifting floor that loses its shape and moves,” says Chevalier. “The reference here is to such Kinetic Art and Op Art artists like Victor Vasarely, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and Julio Le Parc, who conducted research into movement and optical illusion, introduced the first form of interactivity and prefigured digital art.”

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Pattern by Carolyn Kan for Pixels Wave 2015. Photo by Zee

For the installation at the National Design Centre, Chevalier incorporated new patterns by Carolyn Kan and Depression, and also new patterns that create “kinetic universes in reference to Kinetic Art, especially the work of Julio Le Parc.”

“The collection we chose for this collaboration with Miguel is called Heavy Mettle,” says Carolyn Kan. “It celebrates inner strength and [puts the] spotlight [on] gears, which are usually hidden inside an elegant façade.”

At the National Design Centre, the gears would playfully spin when visitors walked over them, and also change colour.

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Pattern by Depression for Pixels Wave 2015. Photo courtesy of Depression

Depression’s contribution came in the form of five pieces of graphic prints from the label’s archives such as ‘1, 2, 3’, which uses Chinese numerics to form a striped pattern.

“Our aesthetic [can be described as] street goth fused with Asian culture, and we were excited to see how Miguel would interpret this through his medium while retaining the emotion of our brand,” says Kenny Lim of Depression.

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Pattern by Depression for Pixels Wave 2015. Photo courtesy of Depression

Describing the relationship between his work and the built environment, Chavelier says, “The configuration of the installation is adapted and shaped for the space in which it is presented. The architecture can be transformed by digital art. I like to create in situ installations in atypical [environments], like the former Church of Sacré Coeur in Casablanca, [Morocco], [and] Castel Del Monte in Andria, Italy. Through the digital, I revisit the history and architecture of the place. I give a new light [to] the place.”