Wonder wall: London studio Squint/Opera look under the lens

To commemorate the opening of the new Weill Cornell Medical College premises in Manhattan, London-based creative agency, Squint/Opera, worked with technology whisperers at Hirsch&Mann to produce a feature ‘discovery wall’ suspended in front of solid stone. The studio hoped to evoke the spirit of medical discovery by warping perception and creating a truly interactive sense of revelation.

The final ‘wall’ houses 2800 LED screens behind an abundance of lenticular lenses, urging passers-by to investigate what appears to be a large scale digital artwork before inspecting each individual screen that displays an image — alternating between moving and still — from the college’s medical research archive. As the artwork is intended to be permanent, every aspect of the design and physical structure is also serviceable.

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Entirely interactive and immersive, Hirsch&Mann explain that they “designed The Discovery Wall to offer viewers three distinct positions to engage with the artwork: from across the street there is a macro view – a large scale image that can be a huge resolution image or an animation; outside the window, the viewers will see the mezzo content – titles of research areas and clusters of hundreds or thousands of images; and, by standing right in front of the artwork, viewers can discover the final, micro view – high resolution images and paragraphs of text related to the area of research visible from the mezzo and macro positions.”

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Forming the centrepiece of a major biomedical research centre, the wall-sized digital artwork thrives on the emotive and evocative power of a screen that seems to evolve in front of your eyes. The dual layer construction creates an observational separation between subject and viewer, to further bring the concept of discovery to life, every aspect of the hardware was designed from scratch.

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