TRANSCENDIENTS

Heroes at the Borders by Taiji Terasaki

Mad Systems was delighted to have the opportunity to work with Taiji and his team to create two major exhibits for this beautiful art exhibition.

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Transcendients” combines two words, “transcend” and “transient.” To me the word speaks to those individuals who have honed their inner beings to find a core of strength—a power they use to muster the support and solidarity needed to make a difference. I think of these “Transcendients” as elegant and spiritual examples of the human spirit who will move us forward to the brilliance of humankind.”

Taiji Terasaki

on the plaza
in front of the museum

A freight container was modified such that it would contain an eight projector show inside, with a fog screen in the middle. The fog screen has a projector on both sides, taking advantage of the fact that both images can be completely different, and each image will only be seen on the opposite side of the projector.
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on the plaza
in front of the museum

A freight container was modified such that it would contain an eight projector show inside, with a fog screen in the middle. The fog screen has a projector on both sides, taking advantage of the fact that both images can be completely different, and each image will only be seen on the opposite side of the projector.

The team built a stainless steel extraction tray at the bottom of the container to evacuate all the fog from the system to avoid humidity build-up in the container.

Visitors enter through an extendible "pod" which creates a light and air lock to avoid disturbing the air inside the venue that is created. The show starts and projects imagery on the walls and on the central fog screen.

A family appears in front of you. You can see that they are behind a chainlink fence in an internment camp as the story unfolds, creating an ethereal image - and if you look closely, you'll see that some of their faces of people in your group are there too, looking back at you, from the other side of the fence, floating in the fog.

You are outside of the camp, looking in.

through the fog

You are summoned to walk through the fog screen, and as you look around, you now find yourself inside the internment camp - the fog screen now shows the family standing on their side of the fence as the rest of the story continues.
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You are on the inside, looking out.

We made use of the fact that you can create two different sets of images simultaneously on both sides of the screen, and lined the container's walls with insulation and a flat surface ready for projection.

in the gallery

Inside the museum, in the middle of a gallery covered with Taiji's amazing art is the mist theater. Here, a short movie of Satsuki Ina of Tsuru for Solidarity is projected through mist that undulates and moves with a somber grace, as she recites her poem

“We Came Back for You.”

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engineering

The theater was an interesting engineering challenge. The humidity caused by the fog screen is not allowed to affect the humidity in the gallery, or indeed the museum. The museums' air conditioning system is not segmented, so if the humidity gets into the HVAC it will affect the entire museum. 
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Mad created a solution by starting with a truss structure, with a double-layered tent where the airflow is designed to ensure that it is laminar around the output of the fog machine, and then set up so that the damp air enters a bank of 10 dehumidifiers before being re-cycled and pushed back up to the plenum formed by the inner and the outer tent structure and re-used to keep the output of the fog machine as laminar is as possible. The result was an exhibit that did not affect the humidity around the fog screen on the gallery side by more than 1-2%  RH, whereas the humidity inside of the containment structure was measured to reach up to 96% RH.

TRANSCENDIENTS: Heroes At Borders will serve as a living memory of the Japanese American internment camps, and as a tribute to activists from the arts, inter-faith, refugee, LGBTQ communities and beyond who continue the fight for democracy and justice for all.

The exhibition was intended to be open to the public from at JANM from February 1 to March 29, 2020, but unfortunately had to close slightly earlier because of the Covid-19 crisis.

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The preparation of the container, including the insertion of the 10' extension pods on both sides was done at our office, set up, and fully tested before the container was shipped to site. The unit was designed so that the entire system can be stored internally so that the container serves as its own shipping envelope.
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