June 30, 2017 - Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC) - The Third Glass
e-flux Architecture
June 30, 2017
June 30, 2017

Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC)

Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC), The Third Glass, 2017. Technology developed and image produced by Damjan Jovanovic.

The Third Glass

Dürerstrasse 10 & Daimlerstrasse 32
60596 Frankfurt am Main


"Can art be prophetic in the sense that it predicts scientific and technological revolutions that have not yet taken place? That seems to be what Walter Benjamin proclaims in The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility: 'The history of every art form shows critical epochs in which a certain art form aspires to effects which could be fully obtained only with a changed technical standard, that is to say, in a new art form.' A case in point: The Large Glass // complex geometries that crystallised in a legendary work by Marcel Duchamp. It is not a painting in the traditional sense but an entirely new kind of artwork characterised by the artist as a 'delay in glass.'

The original version of the work is permanently installed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. However, the second version—produced by Swedish art critic Ulf Linde in dialogue with Duchamp (and signed by the artist in 1961)—has been at the center of all major Duchamp exhibitions after World War II, from the 1963 retrospective in Pasadena to the major surveys at the Tate in London, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Linde became obsessed with figuring out the secret geometries that he believed to be an important aspect of the work. He found fragments and hints in Duchamp’s writings and conversations: 'Most people who know anything at all about Marcel Duchamp, know that he was interested in geometry and mathematics. It is therefore puzzling that so little has been written about how this can be traced in his art, even though he himself has clearly pointed out where the first traces are to be found. In one of his interviews, Pierre Cabanne asked him to explain how he developed the complicated system of measurements in The Large Glass, and Duchamp replied: ‘The explanation is in Moulin à café.’*

Linde was convinced that the mathematical speculations on a fourth dimension developed by the cubist group Section d’Ore around 1912, remained a significant key to all of Duchamp’s most ambitious works. He believed they were secretly linked by geometrical patterns. Philosophical issues, including Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the philosophical speculation of Henry Bergson, were at the center of the Section d’Ore group’s interests. They were developed in intense dialogue with the mathematician Maurice Princet. I would have loved to hear what Ulf Linde would have thought of this Third Glass, a work that takes place in VR, with dimensions that Duchamp clearly anticipated but had no perceptual access to."

–Daniel Birnbaum

* Ulf Linde, unpublished manuscript in the Ulf Linde archive at Moderna Museet.

The Third Glass is a speculative, spatial-digital object based on Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass. The project has been produced by the Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC) for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Its first staging was at the Städelschule Rundgang 2017, the art academy’s annual student exhibition. It will also be presented at the biennial NODE Forum for Digital Arts on July 1. The project launch is accompanied by a series of talks on architecture and the arts in relation to AR/VR, and guests include Sanford Kwinter and Liam Young.

In The Third Glass, each element in Duchamp’s Large Glass becomes a three-dimensional form, animated in accordance to notes in Duchamp’s Green Box. One software application presents The Third Glass in AR on phones/tablets in any given setting; a computer software application for VR places the visitor totally immersed inside The Third Glass.

Students: Yara Feghali, Viviane Komati, Miriam Kuhlmann, Nistha Mehra, Keyur Mistry, Provides Tsing Yin Ng, Jayakar Priyadharshan, Anokhi Shah, Madhumathi Shankar, Vamsi Vemuri, Nopnida Vera-Archakul

Concept: Daniel Birnbaum, Damjan Jovanovic and Johan Bettum

VR/AR Software development: Damjan Jovanovic

Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC)
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