Dancing in hell

Published on Wallpaper* Magazine Graduates Directory Archiprix 2018, 

Exhibited at the Cooper Union Archive and Artifact 

Architecture and Film Symposium, A&M University

Awarded David Yarnall Merit of excellence in Architecture

Designed by Yaoyi Fan

We create movement at every moment. Survival instincts motivate us to move. Alternatively, we merely move by pleasure. The movement created us. It exists in every faction of our body for the air we breathe in and the flows in our vein. 
We experience space through our body in a path or sequence of movement. Though that movement we construct a temporal perception of space in our mind, that is different from the physical space. The series of actions we act out create a temporal reconfiguration of the physical space.

However, it is impossible to capture its ephemeral forms. Marey built a photo gun to take the photo as fast as a bullet to obtain a fraction of second the subject’s motion. Muybridge set cameras in each step where the house will go to capture the movement of a running horse. However, they are only able to achieve the two-dimension representation of movement. I wonder what the three-dimensional forms of movement are. 



Using 3D scan, we can construct the form of a fraction of second of movement. By layering series of digital point clouds, we are able to have the entire sequence of a particular act, such as descending a stair, walking in a passage, rotating between column, and even dancing in a room. Because photogrammetry construct model through a relation position, the moving bodies have distorted the physical space and present eccentric forms.  In a traditional standard of the survey, the changes between each set of models would be considered “imprecise,” but movement’s documentation challenges its concept of precision as reproduction by presenting scans of perception instead. For instance, on the ramp located in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the correlation between the shift in image resolution and the time a person spends looking at and moving from one piece of art to another, is more “precisely” represented her analysis than it would be in any static digital two or three dimensional reproduction. Thus, despite being constructs, these perceptive scans are technically a more accurate record of the ephemeral form that movements portrayed.


perception and space

The representation of perception has existed in ancient time, particularly on the religious belief of unseemly spaces such as heaven or hell. In Renaissance’s painter illustration of Dante’s Inferno, Botticelli had attempted to illustrate the architecture of hell. He painted a sectional painting call “The Chart of Hell,” in which he depicted the movement of Dante and Virgil in a sequence of experience in hell. Botticelli illustrated this section as a series of rings stuck on top of each other, and those rings form an inverted cone. The architecture of inferno is not static space.  Space is growing and extending as the characters move in the story. Each ring constructs through the perceptive of the moving and suffering figures in hell. The circle is not constructed through concrete masonry but build upon the perception of sinner’s constant movement: the inverted cone built from the experience of Dante and Virgil, the wayfarers of hell who witness the fall of sins. This section of Dante’s Inferno is a cut in the mind of perpetual, eternal moving sinners.
Dante’s description of inferno is a metaphor of the city. 



the city of hell

The image of hell is the image of the city of man, where different people in different layers of social statures stuck in one’s circle. The layers describe the circulations of the cities, and the connection in each ring and social circle. Particularly, it is very coherent with the structure of subway system in New York, where the subway line becomes the layers of the city, and the intersection of those lines are the connections and encounters of people in different social status.  The reconstructions of those intersections of lines create continues to merge and diverges of movements of people arrive and depart. The intersections of different surface and slope bring the encountering of people from different lines. The change of slope and stairs push people continuously moving.