This June Manhattan’s Seaport District will be activated by The Nautilus, a new immersive, site-specific installation from SOFTlab. Arranged in a circular constellation along the East River waterfront, the work is made from 100 vertical poles that produce a rich sequence of sound and light when touched. While a single touch produces one melody, simultaneous interactions with the installation stimulate a complex, layered chorus.
Led by SOFTlab’s founder and Principal Michael Szivos, the project is inspired by innovative technology (often embedded in phones, cars, and other contemporary tools) that reads the surrounding environment with cutting-edge specificity. Similar to how these devices are powered by a network of interconnected sensors, SOFTlab’s installation is only fully realized when touch, sound, color, and light are all simultaneously activated. Some poles are equipped with frosted, multicolored panels, which become transparent when a viewer stands in front of them. These shapeshifting blocks of color interact with the visitors who move through them and the sounds created by their touch. “This collective behavior, while idiosyncratic, can be a beautiful choreography,” Szivos said.
The concept of interconnectedness lies at the core of the installation, which also emphasizes the creative power of human interaction. As visitors touch poles simultaneously or in sequence, they create musical compositions in partnership. In Szivos’ words: “The network of the installation allows people to come together in an orchestra of sound and light.”
The installation also communicates with its surrounding environment. Its mast-like poles blend in with the Seaport District’s historic ships, while its animated lights act like a dispersed lighthouse or beacon, which visitors to Brooklyn's waterfront park will be able to see from across the river at night.
The Nautilus is the centerpiece of an innovative new native advertising campaign from Atlantic Re:think and Lincoln. The installation will open to the public on June 17 and remain on display at the Seaport District until September 10, 2019.
The Nautilus is the latest innovation in brand marketing from Atlantic Re:think, the creative agency of The Atlantic. Recent projects include an original score from Hans Zimmer for Land Rover, a live midterm election tracker for Netflix's House of Cards, and a documentary on the ethics of artificial intelligence for HPE. For each of these campaigns, Re:think’s approach has been about creating a profound experience that encourages the audience to not just consume the product but build a relationship with it. The New Yorkbased Atlantic Re:think team is led by Executive Creative Director Jeremy Elias and CRO and Publisher Hayley Romer.