Client: Dubai Future Foundation
Location: Museum of the Future, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Completion date: 2022
Jason Bruges Studio
Dubai Future Foundation
Created for the Museum of the Future in Dubai, The Centre is an inhabitable media artwork that uses water, light, vibration and sound to reawaken the senses. An antidote to an ever more digitally saturated reality, the installation offers an immediate, visceral experience inspired by historic ritual. For millennia, humans have sought unique ways to physically heal and spiritually recentre. Wide-ranging socio-cultural practices from Victorian spa therapies to Tibetan gong baths use water and vibration for restorative purposes.
Inspired by these traditions, The Centre is a healing environment for future generations. Within the space, an elevated, celestial ‘well’ holds a shallow layer of water. As highly controlled oscillations act upon the liquid, an immersive soundscape envelops the room. Light cast through the central lens projects caustic animations into a vast architectural dome bathing visitors beneath in delicate, liquid light. Ever evolving, the light and soundscape uses a tightly honed palette of effects inspired by the water cycle. Water coalesces to form clouds, falls as rain, flows as meandering streams and rejoins the ocean.
Materials: mixed media, custom-control software and custom electronics.
Dimensions: 3m dish, 8m domed roof.
The Centre was guided by the Museum’s main objective, to facilitate an expansive and transformative experience showcasing living, breathing examples of a better, hopeful future. The brief specifically asked for a multisensory space that evokes a feeling of self-transcendence. In response, Jason Bruges Studio envisaged an ever-evolving immersive environment that uses choreographies of liquid light to encourage a moment of stillness. The goal was to invite visitors to recentre and look inwards, in order to be more open and personally connected to others.
Within the exhibition sequence, The Centre is the final room visitors enter on a floor focused on future healing. Responding to healthcare scenarios that value physical fitness over mental wellbeing, it aims to slow people down and reconnect mind and body. Inspired by wide-ranging meditative exercises, but independent of any specific practice, it is designed to be welcoming and accessible drawing on water as a universal, life-giving force that brings people together.
Made up of architects, engineers, computational designers, creative technologists and project managers, JBS has an experimental, hands-on approach which relies on design through making. The team work collaboratively through each stage of a project to develop innovative ideas while ensuring the perceived outcome is achievable.
To develop the palette of optical caustics the team worked together to prototype and test various frequencies and types of actuators to manipulate the liquid. There was a lot of trial and error to determine which frequencies created the cleanest designs, as those you would intuitively expect to be relaxing were actually quite erratic.
Another crucial aspect of the process was carefully curating the soundscape. In order to marry the visual and acoustic effects harmoniously, JBS collaborated with sound designer, Daniel Sonabend. Together the team explored a wide instrumental palette eventually curating a piece that uses female and male voices, rebab, waterphone, violin and viola, Tibetan bowls and found sounds.
Image and video credit: Sandra Ciampone