Spectral addresses the legacy of aerial activity above the city and speculates on a future in which urban spaces are cognizant of their engagement with aerial imaging technologies. Recent advances in aerial imaging have rapidly expanded the ability for a host of actors to detect and respond to changes in cities, landscapes, and public spaces. Beyond the visible spectrum, these technologies record and analyze sub-perceptual shifts in heat signatures, radio waves, and radiation. Low-cost and widely accessible imaging devices have transformed the city into a multispectral environment, where previously invisible activities are newly detectable.
As an installation adjacent to the historic Crump Theater, Spectral is designed as both a public gathering place and a meditation on how and what is seen has changed from projected light (the movie theater) to increasingly pervasive aerial infrared imaging. The thermal activity of visitors to the site will be shielded from the view of multispectral cameras, making it a kind of “safe space” in the urban landscape.
Spectral builds on the logics of multispectral camouflage by suspending an array of infrared reflective material, fragmenting the legibility of thermal activity from the aerial perspective while activating the site with multispectral shadow.
The Crump Theatre, 1889
When John Crump opened the theater as Crump’s New Theatre in 1889, it was the first stand-alone opera house in Columbus. The Art Deco façade was designed by architect Alden Merenda in 1941 and the interior has seen campaigns of additions and renovations over the years. Despite numerous plans to restore the building, in April of 2019 the Crump was placed on Indiana Landmarks' "Top 10 Most Endangered List."
Ersela Kripa is an Assistant Professor and Acting Director at Texas Tech College of Architecture (CoA) – El Paso, and Director of Projects at POST (Project for Operative Spatial Technologies), a CoA research center. Ersela is an editorial board member of the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) and the International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC). Ersela is a registered architect and founding partner of AGENCY. Her awards include the Rome Prize in Architecture and the Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York, among others. Ersela holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University GSAPP.
Stephen Mueller is a Research Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University College of Architecture (CoA) and Director of Research at POST (Project for Operative Spatial Technologies), a CoA research center. Stephen is a registered architect and founding partner of AGENCY. His awards include the Rome Prize in Architecture and the Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York, and the 2019 GSAPP Incubator Prize from Columbia University among others. Stephen holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University GSAPP.