MUSEUM OF OPTICS | London | Unit 21 | 2011


14_1‘On the last night of the nine-day boat journey, he makes a thorough mystical preparation when he hears thecaptain announce, “Gentlemen! Tomorrow at dawn, we will see the first minarets of Istanbul.” Passenger De Amicissleeps little, goes to the deck as soon as he sees the faint light heralding dawn and curses in disillusionment,for there is fog. But the captain comforts him. The fog will enhance the beauty of entering Istanbul.’- Istanbul as Unity and Trinity, Umberto Eco

According to this paragraph quoted from Istanbul as Unity and Trinity, fog is able to enhance the beauty of Istanbul. I interpret fog as an agent that dissolve and reveal what we see. The first part of the project is adocumentation of how does the idea of dissolve and reveal affect the city of Istanbul by photographsas well as make use of the mechanism of a camera to create different exposure effect and pursue the effect of a dissolved image. A series of paper model is made to experiment the transformation and relationship of the dissolving effect from 2 dimensional images to 3 dimensional perception. A pixelated skin model is developed to express the idea of transfromation from a solid block, and pixelated into hollow cubes and eventually into wireframes, and this skin sets up a parameter of the project.

Since the exercises and investigation are about how do we see things, therefore a Museum of Optics is proposedto investigate the idea of dissolve and reveal. The museum acts as a viewing machine to question the way we see by incorporating installations that relate to light, reflection, refraction, movement, as well as hosting a collection of optical instruments, telescope, microscope, magnifying lens and different styles of spectacles etc.

The building is expressed from a solid block to pixelated rotated cubes to wireframe structure and eventually merges to the ground to achieve the idea of dissolving effect. An underground space is created so that no any light comes from the side. People can only experience the kind of dissolving effect by looking up through different layers of dissolving skins inside this condition of a worm’s view.

The whole building acts as a viewing machine by itself that creates different layers of dissolving effect that people can enjoy, at the same time it hosts different optical phenomena and artifacts for people to understand the science and history of optics.