Waterfall of Impermanence: Destruction as Creation

Amber Marie Hurwitz
Amber Marie Hurwitz
Amber Marie Hurwitz was born and raised in Ithaca, NY. She is a graduate of American University in Washington D.C., where she earned her BA in Political Science. She has lived and worked in D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. She has worked as a writer for numerous publications including Elsevier and her hometown newspaper, the Ithaca Journal. She also has experience as an audio production coordinator in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Digital Media department. She has worked on marketing campaigns for Netflix productions, TIME Magazine, and French artist JR. Amber is a musician and artist currently pursuing an MFA in Design & Technology at Parsons School of Design in New York.
Thesis Faculty
Jesse Harding
Andrew Zornoza
Anezka Sebek
Anna Harsanyi

This interactive art installation entails an animation programmed using p5.js and OpenCV Optical Flow projected onto a sculptural fabric surface (constructed with white cotton, wire, and Velcro). The downward flow of patterns in the animation and the structure of the sculptural projection surface are intended to evoke abstract imagery reminiscent of a waterfall, a metaphor for impermanence.

Audience motion is detected via a webcam which triggers a random selection of one of four Cellular Automota patterns implemented in the top row. As the rows of black and white patterns flow downward, emergent patterns appear. The black and white patterns are remixed by both the audience and the program as a metaphor for Yin/Yang and destruction as creation. Halfway down the animation, the pixels are inverted - serving as another metaphor for destruction as a form of creation, death as rebirth, and impermanence. The black and white patterns and transformations applied to them symbolize the tension and harmony of these opposites and change as constant.

A fan behind the fabric also causes it to subtly ripple, giving the installation a sense of movement and flow. The motion detection allows the audience to interfere with the patterns, which again represents destruction/creation and impermanence. The pattern transformations are triggered by motion in real time, highlighting ephemerality as well as serving as a metaphor for Karma (cause and effect.) The intention is for this installation to provide the audience with a surreal and playful experience of beauty, contemplation of its meaning, and ideally, a meditation on impermanence.