Sarah Oppenheimer: N-03X67 / EPFL Pavilions, Lausanne

N-03X67 is a new work by architectural manipulator Sarah Oppenheimer that is currently on view at the Kengo Kuma designed Pavilion 5 of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Sarah Oppenheimer’s work is known for the manipulation of the built environment. Her newest work, N-03X67 encourages human interaction with EPFL Pavilions’ glass structure. It was commissioned in the framework of the second edition of the EPFL-CDH Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program Enter the Hyper-Scientific, in collaboration with the EPFL Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and EPFL Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID).

In this video, Giulia Bini (Curator & Head, EPFL – CDH AiR Program Enter the Hyper-Scientific), talks about Sarah Oppenheimer’s new work and the EPFL – DCH Artist in Residence Program. The exhibition runs until February 18, 2024.

Sarah Oppenheimer: N-03X67 / EPFL – CDH Artist in Residence Program 2023, Enter the Hyper-Scientific. EPFL Pavilions, Pavilion A, EPFL College of Humanities (CDH), Lausanne (Switzerland), January 25, 2024.

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Press text (excerpt):

N-03X67 is a site-specific intervention by architectural manipulator Sarah Oppenheimer that encourages human interaction with EPFL Pavilions’ glass structure.

Buildings are intelligent systems. Like living cells, their boundaries mediate flow. N-03X67 is a dynamic network intertwined within this existing metabolic relay. Sited along EPFL Pavilions’ glass façade, seven elongated pneumatic instruments subdivide the glass wall. Interwoven within and between façade mullions, networked pathways are set in motion by human touch. An architectural array tips and turns in response to human action: sliding a horizontal bar tilts its vertical counterpart. Operating at atmospheric pressure and activated by touch, human energy extends across architectural space.

Linked by air, N-03X67 is a pneumatic network composed of actuators, cylinders, valves, and dampers. Its kinetic permutations were generated in collaboration with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL. Informed by the laboratory’s research on neural networks and learning algorithms, computer code was developed to optimize routing between actuating instruments. A complex Boolean logic mediates analogue flow. Sliding an instrument directs air along a set of circulatory pathways, creating loops of cause and effect.

N-03X67 embodies the material potential in an energetic circuit. As flow is routed and re-routed, new sensory encounters emerge. An intimate, tactile energy radiates from building to body to machine, blurring the boundaries between viewer and actor, human and mechanism, interior and exterior, public and private.

Sarah Oppenheimer is an architectural manipulator. Oppenheimer creates circulatory pathways that establish unexpected kinesthetic and visual relays between bodies and buildings. Gestural manipulation of interwoven instruments alters the contours of surrounding architecture. Rhythms and timescales of living systems flow from body to building and back again. The viewer is transformed into an agent of spatial change.

Oppenheimer’s recent solo exhibitions include Sensitive Machine (Wellin Museum of Art, USA 2021), N-01 (Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland 2020), S-337473 (Mass MoCA, USA 2019), S-337473 (Wexner Center for the Arts, USA 2017), S-281913 (Pérez Art Museum Miami, USA 2016), S-399390 (MUDAM Luxembourg 2016) and 33-D (Kunsthaus Baselland, Switzerland 2014).

Oppenheimer’s work has also been exhibited at ZKM, the Baltimore Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Art Unlimited at Art Basel, the Mattress Factory, the Drawing Center, and the Sculpture Center.
Sarah Oppenheimer, N-03X67, 2024. Commissioned and produced in the framework of EPFL – CDH Artist in Residence Program 2023, Enter the Hyper-Scientific.
Partners: EPFL Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), EPFL Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID).
With the kind support of sedak GmbH & Co. KG.
Curator: Giulia Bini
Enter the Hyper-Scientific
Initiated by the EPFL College of Humanities (CDH), amplified by EPFL Pavilions, and in partnership with the City of Lausanne, the EPFL-CDH Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program Enter the Hyper-Scientific reflects the CDH mission of fostering transdisciplinary encounters and collaborations between artists and EPFL’s scientific community. The program invites professional Swiss and international artists for three-month residencies to realize innovative and visionary projects at the intersection of art, science, and advanced technologies.

Posted in: architecture, art, interview