ART + COM: Manta Rhei
Founded in 1988 by a group of designers, scientists, artists, and technicians, ART + COM is a company committed to the exploration of new media and technology. The company designs and executes commissioned projects for clients such as the German Salt Museum, the BMW Museum, and Autostadt Wolfsburg. Based in Berlin, ART + COM relies on both the content of their projects and cutting edge technology to produce commissions that establish new innovative boundaries between the fields of art, design, science, and technology.
Manta Rhei (2012) is ART + COM’s newest completed project. A collaboration between ART + COM and light fixture manufacturer Selux, “Manta Rhei merges physical movement and light choreography for a new kind of luminaire, the first to be based in OLED technology.”
More than a simple light installation, Manta Rhei is a performance of impressive choreography and machinery. Composed of sets of ten OLEDs which are attached to fourteen 1.2m flexible metal “lamellae,” the installation shifts with the aid of motors hidden in the ceiling. Each motor can be controlled individually, allowing each set of lamellae to perform patterns of prescribed motion.
Suspended from the ceiling, Manta Rhei looks like a large-scale Minimalist sculpture, a testament to its design aesthetic. However, the individual movements of each metal lamel allow the entire installation to appear as if it is moving though the air. This important design feature provides the added element of functionality that blurs the line between art, design, and technology. Manta Rhei is as functional as a light source as it is a breathtaking art/tech installation.
For more information about Manta Rhei and other projects by ART + COM, please visit their website here.
- Victoria Nolte