[ISEA2018] Paper: Scott Hessels — Animating Glass: Stencil Animation and Smart Materials


Short Paper

Keywords: Smart Materials, Sculpture, Animation, Media Archaeology, Urban Signature, Low Energy, Light Pollution, Stencil

Iconic urban neon has been replaced by the sign of our times, the LED screen, with increased light pollution, wasted energy, environmental damage and stress on the populace. Smart Glass is electronic film switchable between transparent and white. Safe, low voltage and highly durable, it’s one of the emerging class of reactive materials becoming more commercially available yet relatively unexplored for creative potential. Smart materials are binary, switchable and often contiguous. These properties align with the first design tool, the stencil, which has revealed potential in nearly every new media from cave drawings to nanotechnology. In Art History, the brush and chisel get all the glory but the lowly stencil preceded both. Combining the switchable capabilities of Smart Glass with stencils laser cut into frames of animation, a moving image can traverse through physical space, inverting the paradigm of current
technologies which present 3D images on 2D surfaces. The paper will present media-archeological approaches to reveal low-energy dimensional signature alternatives to benefit urban environments by exploring ambient, low-energy display that’s more integrated, sustainable and less visually invasive. Poetically, an animated stencil is sequenced light in physical form, like our vanished neon.

  • Scott Hessels (b. 1958) is an American filmmaker, sculptor and media artist based in Hong Kong. His artworks span different media including film, video, online, music, broadcast, print, kinetic sculpture, and performance. His films have shown internationally and his new media installations have been presented in museum exhibitions focusing on technology as well as those presenting fine arts. His recognitions include patents for developed technologies, references in books and periodicals on new media art, and coverage in cultural media like Wired and Discover. He is currently an associate professor at The School of Creative Media in City University of Hong Kong and executive producer of the Extreme Environments Program which organizes art/science expeditions to environmentally significant sites.

Full text p. 380 – 384