DF Grad Alumnus (MFA 2017), @Jshaw3, exhibits: “Stella Polaris” @OntarioPlace Winter Light Exhibition 18′

Stella Polaris

Jordan Shaw (MFA Digital Futures 2017) is an artist and creative technologist, his interests span creative mediums from strictly digital to interactive installations and physical environments. The themes explored by Shaw’s work often relate to the influence of technology in popular culture and the predefined expectations society has about their relationship with computers, technology, digital data and the future. In many cases the manifestation of Shaw’s creative output transpire through projects and focus on communicating the invisible, yet very physical components of technology and their data collection capabilities. Shaw plays with the concept of how technology can go unnoticed, and yet how it can alter our surroundings, influence how we perceive our environment and alter how we behave and interact both our physical and virtual environment.

For full artist statement cited below, visit: http://jordanshaw.com

“Stella Polaris, Latin for The North Star is an interactive light installation that allows visitors to participate in creating an ambient experience by influencing their surroundings through movement and positioning. Inspired by the navigation of our paths throughout history, Stella Polaris connects bygone and present knowledge with modern technologies to look at how unseen forces can alter our surroundings. Stella Polaris seeks to impact the behaviour and perception of both passive and active participants in the physical world.

Stella Polaris consists of five pillars, outlining the shape of a star. The installation and its North Star pattern are oriented such that the top of the star is the northernmost pillar and is facing due north. For generations, The North Star was used for navigation, wayfinding, and global positioning. Like The North Star, Stella Polaris provides a unique form of modern navigation. It employs invisible and often unexplained Bluetooth Low Energy beacon technology traditionally used for navigation and positioning to facilitate engagement and interaction through sensing and listening for signals emitted from smartphones and other smart devices. It is this passive listening that allows Stella Polaris to calculate the position of the participants and react to the presence of an audience.”

Stella Polaris, Latin for The North Star is an interactive light installation that allows visitors to participate in creating an ambient experience by influencing their surroundings through movement and positioning. Inspired by the navigation of our paths throughout history, Stella Polaris connects bygone and present knowledge with modern technologies to look at how unseen forces can alter our surroundings. Stella Polaris seeks to impact the behaviour and perception of both passive and active participants in the physical world.

Stella Polaris consists of five pillars, outlining the shape of a star. The installation and its North Star pattern are oriented such that the top of the star is the northernmost pillar and is facing due north. For generations, The North Star was used for navigation, wayfinding, and global positioning. Like The North Star, Stella Polaris provides a unique form of modern navigation. It employs invisible and often unexplained Bluetooth Low Energy beacon technology traditionally used for navigation and positioning to facilitate engagement and interaction through sensing and listening for signals emitted from smartphones and other smart devices. It is this passive listening that allows Stella Polaris to calculate the position of the participants and react to the presence of an audience.

At night the installation emits a radiance of colour resembling the Aurora Borealis. The pillar’s shimmer reacts to the presence of participants moving around the grounds. It’s this movement that influences the constant evolution of the warm and lively energy of each autonomous pillar. Visitors to the exhibition are asked to engage with the installation by exploring how their presence affects their environment. Visitors can explore how proximity and movement are reflected back through the installation. Do their actions align with the installations interpretation of their journey throughout the space? How does the understanding of our influence upon the installation change as the number of participants increase or decrease? Can our interactions with the piece also shift the affective experience of other attendees?

During the day, while the interactive lights still exist, visitors are also asked to explore the materiality of the installation and the effect the Ontario seasons have on the installation during the exhibition. Depending on the season, Stella Polaris’ acceptance into the natural environment will progress and evolve, questioning the role of technology in the natural world.

Stella Polaris tries to highlight the invisible nature of modern technology and the devices we depend on. It aims to encourage thought about the adoption and acceptance of technology, as well as the ever-changing complex role it plays within our society. How can seeing our digital reflection affect our relationship and understanding of the impact that technology has on the individual and the larger population in public and private space?

On display at Ontario Place from November 23, 2018 – March 17, 2019.

More information is available at the Winter Light Exhibition’s website.