Prototype: Exhibition in the Cloud is an interdisciplinary collaboration betweenParsons The New School for Design and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) which seeks to challenge and reinvent received notions of prototyping, extending its design and industrial origin to encompass artistic imagination.
Invoking the image of cloud computing, “prototype” here means a state of constant transformation and becoming. Like a cloud, it is amorphous and malleable, unstable and precarious. Instead of achieving a functionalist goal-oriented objective, prototyping-in-the-cloud becomes a mechanism of repetition in difference; always self-renewing and regenerating, revealing its infinite potential though chance, adaptivity and ephemerality in materiality. To prototype therefore is to invent the unforeseeable, to cast a shape that is at the same time formless. To prototype is to imagine the ineffable and to create polymorphic manifestations that are at once crystallized and fleeting. It is as much a way of cultural intervention as a mode of formal exercise in which memories, histories, locations and relations are engendered, tested, reiterated and distributed — each a raw model of its own unique presence and by its own means.
The exhibition adapts to the environment in which it is produced. With the cloud database serving as a structural platform for the project, each material extension of the exhibition becomes a prototype in and of itself, and as such, a tangible experience.
The project is a collaboration that takes place between two geographical locations, using the cloud as a communication channel, tool and archival form for the exhibition. New York and Berlin are both centers of global cultural production and significant platforms for local artistic experimentation.
The participants come from a spectrum of disciplines including Design and Technology, Communication Design, Interactive Design, Fine Arts, Photography and Illustration. In June 2012, thirteen Parsons students travelled to Berlin to participate in a week-long workshop at the UdK. In November of 2012, a group of students from the Digital Media class at UdK/Berlin travelled to New York to complete the project and install the first of several iterations.
A second version of the exhibition will be downloaded from the cloud and take place in Berlin in January 2013. The content of the show will remain dynamic as the participants continue to upload new versions of their prototypes. Future iterations can then be downloaded at additional sites globally.
The Parsons + UdK team would like to thank Sven Travis and Anne Gaines in the School of Art, Media and Technology for all their support on this project. We would also like to thank Angelika Theuss in the office of International Exchange at UdK/Berlin for her advice and guidance in the early stages of this project.