Supergraphics - as the name hints - are graphics on a big scale. Which is fitting since they were also a big - even revolutionary - concept, cooked up by some of the most radical post-modern architects of the 1960s. The idea? To apply paint and graphics to both the interior and exterior of buildings in a defiant act that would 'remove solidity, gravity, even history' - and certainly cause some alarm to those more reverential modernists. According to architect Robert Venturi: 'One does not paint on Mies.' The only thing small about the architectural movement was its time frame; supergraphics abided by the decade's mantra to 'live fast, die young'.
But, although the term - coined by writer C Ray Smith - first applied to the postmodern architects he called the Supermannerists, their ideology has survived and today supergraphics have been resurrected in the realm of special effects. Building facades can now magically shift and change with embedded LEDs, while those sacrosanct modernist glass walls are the perfect backdrop for computing and projection systems.
London's Seeper (opens in new tab), founded by Evan Grant in 1998, is one of a new breed of studios conjuring up temporary architectural transformations. Using architectural projection mapping - projected images that replicate the building beneath - and fast-moving 3D graphics, Seeper's interventions appear to transform a physical structure itself.
'We allow people to "pull apart" a building using motions or iPhones,' says Grant. Seeper's installations are logic-defying spectacles, which distort and warp a building's perspective to mind-boggling effect. The studio's future holds much promise: 'We're exploring ways to create kinetic buildings, from movable walls to bio-technologies.'
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