Lightwave International | Artist Florian Dombois' uboc No. 1 & stuVi2
How much do tall buildings react to the pressures of wind and seismic shifts in the Earth's plates? German/Swiss artist Florian Dombois has teamed with Lightwave to find out! A beam of laser light connected Boston University’s School of Law and Student Village 2, which are more than a half mile apart. The display, entitled "uboc No. 2 & stuVi2," stretched across the Boston skyline from October 10th to the 13th from dusk to 2am. It consisted of a high powered laser, used to connect two towers, Boston University’s School of Law — Josep Lluis Sert’s modernist icon, nicknamed by the students as the ugliest building on campus (uboc No. 1) — and the new dormitory, Student Village 2 (StuVi2). The laser also functioned as a range finder, which measures the distance — the architectural and geophysical dialog — between the two, and in real time, projected their movements onto a screen.
artistic, install, lasers, lazer, laser, lazers, boston, university, school, law, conference, transcultural, exchange
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Florian Dombois’ uboc No. 1 & stuVi2

About This Project

Florian Dombois often analyzes natural phenomena through his work. Interdisciplinary in nature, his works explore the relationship between art and science.The laser links the towers, which are more than a half mile apart. Their foundations are tied to the same shifting tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s elastic crust. Locally, they are buffeted by the same surrounding traffic and winds. Consequently, they move sometimes closer, sometimes further apart. They share much in common; yet, like between us all, a distance remains.

The buildings chosen for Dombois’ uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 also share similar physical attributes — most notably, their roof and profile. One, though, is designed by a star architect, older and clearly of a previous generation. The other is designed by an architectural firm, clad in shiny new materials, more contemporary and unmistakably ambivalent in its relationship to its elder. Despite stuVi2’s commanding height and placement, its mimicry of the School of Law’s profile reflects the same fear, mingled with longing to break away from its roots that its inhabitants and, at times, all of us must feel towards our own individual collective pasts.

The projected ‘conversation’ between the two structures is crucial to the piece’s meaning. Dombois encourages us to view the work as more than a spectacle. The laser visually binds the buildings into a singular form; the projection, though, reveals something less rigid, another mod of being — one that does not overpower, merge, or subsume the other into a formation. uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 touches upon the heart of what it means to be human — the necessity of flexibility and exchange. It presents a fluid give-and-take reciprocity, an ever-evolving basis for a more enduring connection.

uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 presents a marvelous co-existence that parallels TransCultural Exchange’s core mission, which is to create a greater understanding of world cultures – one that recognizes, celebrates, and explores the differences between us, what we share in common, and how we can respectfully support one another.

Florian Dombois is an artist who studied geophysics and philosophy in Berlin, Kiel, and Hawaii. He founded the “Institute Y” for transdisciplinary exchange between the arts and research and teaching. He currently serves as a professor at the Zürich University of the Arts and is also a visiting professor at the Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zürich. He has shown widely nationally and internationally, including at the Kunsthall Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bünder Kunstmuseum Chur, ZKM Karlsruhe, Museum Ludwig Koblenz, Fundació Suñol Barcelona, Riga Art Space, and CIC Cairo. In 2010, he received the German Sound Art Prize.


lasers, specialty