Spotlight on JIA Judges: Jason Kelly Johnson & Nataly Gattegno

Returning to judge the 2015 JUST IMAGINE Awards are the founding principals of Future Cities Lab, Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno. The duo has collaborated on a range of award-winning projects that explore the intersections of design with advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems and public space.

Future Cities Lab is at the forefront of exploring how tech, social media and the Internet will profoundly affect how we live, work, communicate and play in the future. Their approach to design and making, which has been described as “high performance craft,” is also deeply experiential, interactive and materially rich.

Their latest work, the Murmur Wall in downtown San Francisco, is an outdoor installation straddling the line between digital art and architecture. The piece collects what neighborhood residents are searching for on the Internet, and then uses the unedited search terms to activate spaces around the artwork, turning data into real-time streams of illumination and text.

By collecting local online activity, via search engines and social media, the Murmur Wall transforms data into real-time streams of light and text. The public installation, commissioned by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is a sculptural lattice woven out of steel, LED tubes and large 3D printed data displays.

“There is a lot of debate these days about how the Internet of Things will make the city less private, but also more intelligent and productive,” said Gattegno in a press release. “Our lab is particularly interested in its potential to challenge and inspire the public to engage cities in new and unexpected ways.”

While most electronic artworks are limited to gallery settings, Johnson and Gattegno created the 70-foot-long Murmur Wall for the outdoors, allowing it to be accessible 24/7. “We are interested in exploring how data can become a visceral, tangible and poetic urban experience,” said Johnson. “Making living in cities less predictable and perhaps more playful and interactive