Of Light, Space, and Form : Effects Oriented Productions

Presented by: Clay Odom

“Beam me up…I am ready to be amazed.” Aaron Betsky If the design of environments and experiences has become a key concern for many contemporary designers and artists. What is the medium that is most prevalent? Light. Light can be seen as the primary medium that is used by contemporary designers and it is the focus of an ongoing set of design-based explorations into surface, form, space and experience. Through this work, light is questioned relative to its parametric and geometric (associated with form and material) and sensorial and spatial (associated with atmosphere and experience) properties as conditions for preliminary investigation. Fundamentally, light is only experienced directly when it interacts with something (objects and surfaces- or your body) so there is a direct relationship that is fundamental to design and designers interested in spatial and experiential (re: sensorial), and formal/material processes and interventions. Through this process, one may begin to question to relationship between the ephemeral effects, spaces, people and objects as a set of contingent conditions which may be explored. Further, the very question of generating the ephemeral challenges pejorative notions of superficiality which has dogged the discipline for decades. Through exploring a set of recent and on-going projects, the questions of the production of effects through the generation of objects which are projected into existing contextual situations is used as foil to these pejoratives. The work will be used to ask questions critical for the contemporary discipline of interior design which range from theory to process to materialization and fabrication. “…(digital revolution) suggests the introduction of contingency, responsivity, and feedback into the very performance of architecture itself, shifting the discipline…towards an exploration of temporality and instrumentality as well.” Chris Perry Exploring ephemeral effects generated a seemingly dichotomous condition which the works seeks to further engage. The work both aspires to locational contingency, and visuality while also taking on aloof characteristics which seem to recede or hide from view. Tim Morton has described this type of complex relationship, saying nothing is ever solidly itself, but is “…saturated with…a shimmering or flickering, a shadow play of presence and absence intertwined.” Literal characteristics of form and material become effective conditions which could be described as camouflage and glamour. Camouflage is used both in the natural and human-made world to generate effects which blur form in order to blend with contexts. Surface articulations combined with conditions of surface coloration, pattern (as variegated repetitions and field conditions in themselves) and finish to produce effects that disrupt form and situate animals and people within their environment. By contrast, Glamour is used both in nature and by humans to stand-out, to draw attention, and to express individuality. Issues of surface articulation are also combined with pattern and finish to produce effects which are most often associated with ornamentation that enhance or accentuate formal characteristics. Glamour’s original linkage with concepts relating to magic and the para-normal are also of interest in their relationship to notions of effects as phantasmagoric, uncanny or sublime productions. Finally, the paper will begin to outline qualities of contingency and autonomy as well as presence and aloofness or shimmer which underlie the projects as both conceptual positions and actualized material effects. By moving from a position where ephemerality is foregrounded, a potential for an expansion or contemporary re-definition of interior design practice may occur. This work is situated in this condition and seeks to move out into the interior spaces of the city while also directly engaging in the rigorous production of subjective experiences through objective, formal-material means


  • Morton, Timothy. March 14, 2016. "Timothy Morton Haunted Houses." In SCI-Arc Media Archive
  • Kipnis, Jeffrey. A Question of Qualities: Essays in Architecture. Cambridge
  • Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattaris, A Thousand Plateaus