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Excellence Award

Nemo Observatorium

Lawrence MALSTAF

Installation [Belgium]

White particles are blown around in a big transparent cylinder. Visitors can take a seat on the armchair in the middle of the whirlpool or observe from the outside. In the eye of the storm, it is calm and safe. In this spectacular meditation machine, one can follow the patterns, focus on layers of 3D pixels or listen to its waterfall sound. One could call it a training device, challenging the visitor to find peace in a fast-changing environment.

© Lawrence MALSTAF


Lawrence MALSTAF


Born in 1972 in Belgium and lives in Norway, Lawrence MALSTAF operates between the visual and the theatrical. With a background in industrial design and theater, he does installations and performance art with a strong focus on movement, coincidence and unstable order. He made a series of sensorial rooms for individual vistors and also large-scale mobile environments dealing with space and orientation. He won the Witteveen+Bos award for art and technology (Nl) and the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica (Au).

( 2009 )

Award Reason

An armchair is set in the center of a transparent cylinder. As the viewer sits on the chair and turns on a switch, a vortex visualized in the form of a huge volume of foam polystyrene particles is generated by an air draft. The particles that swirl violently inside the cylinder brush against its internal wall, but never hit the viewer, so he or she can appreciate the pattern created by the dynamic movement of these particles while feeling it at the same time. Many works that adopt natural phenomena as a motif, or use physical operations implement them as organic variables for creating music or CG without considering them carefully. However, this work doggedly cuts out the phenomenon itself and presents it in a straightforward way, making me feel a sense of freshness and dynamism. Beyond its concept or logic, what appeals most to me about this work, and never fails to arouse my curiosity, is that I feel I just have to try it out once. Moreover, it also makes me feel that not only is this a sophisticated work of art, but it also evokes a sense of nostalgia of an SF film set or attractions in an old-fashioned amusement park.

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