Softlab are at it again, with a spectacular, generated architectural volume. I was part of a group show with them last year; then, they worked entirely with the lasercutter. In the spring, they did a small work that switched media, making each piece of the installation with an inkjet printer to apply color. (Hey, it’s wildly expensive thanks to ink costs, but simple – and with photo paper, looks gorgeous.) Now, they’ve put the two together: it’s a large volume, playing with interior and exterior form, it uses the inkjet-printed cards, and it’s held together with binder clips. It’s installed in such a way that it seems to intrude into the space, filling it organically. There’s something magical about going from its plain exterior to the brilliant color inside; peering in is a bit like looking from one dimension into another.

Marius Watz, known in the Processing community, has photos from the opening on the Lower East Side last week, above.

The other novel idea here was using Kickstarter to fund the development. It’s a model of how to do Kickstarter right: everyone gets their name on a piece and gets involved in the artwork. Using the reward is a lot more logical than simply begging for money, and it’s what could give Kickstarter in general some longevity. Here’s how they explain it:

In order to make this project happen, we need to complete the final design, print color on + or – 3,960’ of super high gloss photo paper, laser cut the paper into their specific geometry, clip the pieces together, and install the final piece. There’s a lot to do and a short amount of time to do it!

If you can help us offset some of the costs we will reward you with pieces from the original installation! Every cent you give will go towards materials such as paper, ink, fasteners, lights, etc.

Along with our Kickstarter campaign and the production of the installation, we would love to track where our support is coming from. After you donate, leave us a message containing your name, where you are located, and a picture to be uploaded on a Google Map found here

You can also see how many panels have been given names at! Pass the word along and help us tag the entire installation with supporters!

Just talking about the funding, even, takes away from the broader point: when you make your work participatory, even in a small way, you build your audience. That might be in the form of funds. It might simply be in the form of people showing up for an event. The capital that you generate doesn’t have to be in money. But if you’re making art for people to witness, it seems their participation on some level is essential. Why else do people go to openings but to be part of a crowd, of something happening? Food for thought.

Check out the video on Kickstarter, which describes the participatory model:

More coverage in a nice piece on Designboom

Project Page at Bridge Gallery

Oh, yeah, this is Create Digital Motion. But if this isn’t giving you ideas for a motion-based event or ways to involve your audience and community, I don’t know what will… (and hey, you can walk around it: check the lovely Flash model on the gallery site above.)