Compass is a kind of orientation machine to wear around your waist that gives you directions while you are walking through virtual corridors and rooms. These have been programmed to fit the physical exhibition space or any other venue. The machine creates a feeling of attraction or repulsion that can be compared to be being in a magnetic field. You can explore this environment and discover a tactile architecture. The machine is programmed to make you follow an invisible map, but you can choose between resisting to the machine or giving in and letting yourself be guided.
The experience of ‘being in the middle’ is very important for the installations of visual artist Lawrence Malstaf .
In Malstaf’s installations, the visitor himself can experience abstract or concrete situations. One could compare them with anti-automatons. Machines, mechanical or auto-choreographic ephemeral spaces and volumes are constructed very precisely, but once activated they become subject to a series of coincidental parameters inherent to the materials, the light and surely the presence of the visitor.
Read more about Compass at FACT here
Read more about the Compass experience in the New Scientist article “Trousers with attitude show resistance is futile”.
The work of Lawrence Malstaf can be situated on the borderline between the visual and the theatrical. After having studied industrial design, Lawrence Malstaf starts of in theatre. He designs scenographies for choreographers and directors as Benoît Lachambre, Meg Stuart and Kirsten Delholm. Soon he develops more into installation and performance-art with a strong focus on movement, coincidence, order and chaos. In 2000 he makes a series of sensorial rooms for individual visitors (Nemo Observatorium, Mirror, Pericope/Horizon Machine).
Later he creates larger mobile environments dealing with space and orientation often using the visitor as a co-actor (Orbit, Nevel, Compass, Boreas, Transporter). His projects often involve advanced technology as a point of departure or inspiration but also to activate the installations. Lawrence Malstaf is exhibiting internationally and in 2008 he wins the Witteveen + Bos – prize for Art + Technology (NL), in 2009 he receives the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica (A) an in 2010 he is the winner of the Excellence Prize at The 13th Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo (JP).
Lawrence Malstaf is represented by Galerie Fortlaan 17, Gent (B)
Compass at FACT: www.fact.co.uk/projects/robots-and-avatars/lawrence-malstaf-compass/