Parmenides I: Dev Harlan

Curator: Nicole Jacek
date: July 22, 2013
Categories: Entertainment Design, Environmental Design, Experience Design, Motion Graphics
Tags: Dev Harlan, Parmenides, projection mapping

Why? Because. It. Makes. You. Cry.

Although I was specifically asked to pick something recent for this blog post entry—and I am aware that I am stretching AIGA’s words of wisdom a bit—Your selections should be recent, in the marketplace or designed within the past 6–12 months—I decided to introduce you to a piece of design that touches me. Dev Harlan’s Parmenides I is a large-scale, 360-degree video sculpture, created for Dev’s first solo exhibition, “Astral Flight Hangar,” for the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York.

For me, watching this installation brings a full spectrum of emotion: I’m thrilled, blown away, and yes, crying. 

It feels like you’re waiting for the sculpture—made from wood, foam and plaster—to take off the ground and fly back to its mothership. It so beautifully combines the physical with the virtual through a fusion of sculpture, design, light, projection and sound, while exploiting kinetic geometric harmonies with intense colors, patterns, light and motion, reminiscent of 1960s optical art, with clear influences of Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely and Richard Anuszkiewicz. Actually, it reminds me of Modern Primitives, which Ben Aranda and Chris Lasch of New York architecture firm Aranda/Lasch created for Fendi at Design Miami 2010. Without the projection layer. 

Now, you can find an explosion of projection mapping going on everywhere in the world, most of them interesting. But Parmenides I for sure remains a captivating spectacle, no matter how often you take a look at it.

Dev Harlan is a self-taught artist and designer living and working in New York. For years, I kept telling everyone about that amazing Dutch artist Dev, only to find out he’s a native Californian—his name sounds so much better with a Dutch accent. Just a thought.

Parmenides I, Christopher Henry Gallery, New York

Photo © Fendi
Chris Lasch (left) and Ben Aranda (right) of Aranda/Lasch

Photo © Fendi
Aranda/Lasch’s Modern Primitives for Fendi at the Design Miami pavilion

Videography: Dustin Cohen
Audio: USMILEAMBIENT by Shamantis
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