words Daniel West
Hydra, octopus, spider and dinosaur are some of the terms international architecture collective Servo uses to describe its video-projecting sculpture, UNIT.
The piece was created for Dark Places, a video art show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art earlier in the year.
UNIT, which has now been dismantled, comprised two central hubs, each sprouting four arms with head-like projectors at their ends. Each pair of arms has an eye-level rear-projection unit at one end (for close-up video viewing) and a higher projector at the other end, projecting video onto the gallery walls. Corresponding touch screens at the hubs allow visitors to dictate what each projector plays.
Principally based in Los Angeles (with studios in New York, Stockholm and Zurich), Servo collaborated with Warner Brothers’ prop department to create the vacuum-formed plastic arms. Fibre optic strands light up the arms (the lighting designer also works with Disney).
“[The installation] uses many of the intellectual and commercial resources of the automotive and film industries,” says Servo’s David Erdman. “We were inspired by Chris Cunningham’s video for Björk [All is Full of Love] and face robots from the Tokyo University of Science.”