Grid, Sequence Me

Joelle Dietrick, Grid, Sequence Me
The Sea is a Smooth Space, 2013, projected animation, dimensions variable

Grid, Sequence Me @ Flashpoint Gallery, Washington D.C.

Excerpt from critic Maura Judkis 2013 Washington Post review of the DC installation:

For the artists' new installation, they've taken plans for Washington area houses and public buildings and diced them into architectural fragments -- some windows here, a door frame there -- that loop across the gallery walls in a collage of competing forms.

A few elements will be recognizable, such as the brutalist outline of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, but many are stripped down to their most generic shapes, making rows of windows look like charts and bar graphs. The projections of some of those shapes echo and interplay with the forms of the Flashpoint gallery interior.

Dietrick and Mundy also scraped The Post's listings of recent home sales, with architectural elements from some of those homes appearing before a dense thicket of live-streamed code. It's a visual reminder of just how complicated the housing industry has become.

This custom coding is also a reference to the way information is transmitted through "packet switching," which breaks data apart as it is sent over the Internet and then reconfigures it upon arrival.

There's a sense in the animation that the structures are tumbling away from you -- just as homeownership has slipped out of the grip of many Americans. But the piece will elicit a different reaction here than in Florida, where the effects of the housing market crash have been far more pronounced. In Washington, we've mostly been insulated from it: Foreclosures are few, short sales are sparse. In the jumble of buildings and code, "Grid, Sequence Me," may serve as a warning for those who haven't experienced that sense of loss -- but who indirectly, through policy work, may have influenced the systems that led to the crash.

Before long, "Grid, Sequence Me" becomes a meditative experience. Spend a few minutes letting its shapes wash over you in soothing blues and greens and it's no longer about the complexities of housing. It's about finding beauty in transitions, in whatever form they take, from an orderly grid to a spinning assemblage of architectural debris.

For the full review, please visit,1236964/critic-review.html


This project was created with a variety of free and open source software. Notably, Processing (Java) with the OBJLoader library by SAITO and Matt Ditton, and the SimpleML library by Daniel Shiffman, and the ColladaFragmenter application Owen created with PHP. We also used Meshlab, Sketchup, FFmpeg, as well as other proprietary software not mentioned. Owen made the software available for download on github.

color, foreclosure, home, washington, dc, real estate
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