Doxa Orange right arrow Kaleidoscape: A Study in Double Symmetry

Kaleidoscape – plan symmetry. Photo courtesy BAM/PFA.


We are pleased to announce Kaleidoscape, our latest museum exhibition and social furniture project, which we recently installed at the Berkeley Art Museum for a three-year exhibition in the museum’s main atrium.

Led by Rebar principal/founder Matthew Passmore and Associate Designer Elizabeth Marley, Kaleidoscape is an interactive sculpture system created to explore the tension between the system of order implied by a radial “plan view” symmetry and the soft symmetry of social use patterns that change over time or emerge spontaneously. Exhibiting this unique form of double symmetry, Kaleidoscape can be enjoyed visually from galleries high above the atrium floor, as well as by museum visitors in search of a comfortable place to sit, relax, or collaborate to build a wide variety of social spaces. While the formal elements of the piece imply a system of radial order, the emergent use patterns will provide another structure – an informal “social symmetry” given by the improvised and evolving requirements of Kaleidoscape’s users. In this regard (and borrowing a page from the work of Henri Lefebvre) the piece can be thought of as an expression of the inherent tension between a “conceived” ordering system designed at a privileged distance from the experience of the space, and the “perceived” properties of the space, based upon the complex and evolving needs of the user; the tension between a radial, plan-view kaleidoscopic symmetry and an emergent and chaotic social symmetry of ever-changing use patterns.

All that and a video:

Social symmetry. Photo courtesy BAM/PFA.

Kaleidoscape was, like many Rebar projects, an intensely collaborative effort. We benefited greatly from the contributions of Joel Rose, fabricator extraordinaire, the expert upholstery design of Joona Creates, with clutch collaboration from Sasha Vermel Designs, and intrepid Rebar Apprentices Paul Andam and George Zisiadis.

The piece is on display at the museum through December 2015 and, if all goes well, it will continue to live at the new Berkeley Art Museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which is slated to open in 2016.

Stay tuned for future Kaleidoscape events, including a presentation by lead artist/Rebar founder Matthew Passmore on July 26, 2013, competitive kaleidoscapic races later in the year, and other events to come.

Plan symmetry emerges, even during installation. Photo by Matthew Passmore.


The social symmetry of installation

Written by Matthew

June 4th, 2013 at 11:14 pm