Stephanie Rothenberg will use Harpo fundsto support, LAPUTA, INC.: THE SECRET OF ETERNAL LEVITATION, an installation and workshop created for ISEA2012, taking place at 516 ARTS in September 2012 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Laputa, Inc.” is a mixed reality, public art installation and correlating workshop that explores how contemporary visions of utopian urbanization are impacted by real world economic, political and environmental factors. Drawing from existing interpretations of the “ideal” global city as projected by the fantastical constructions of cities such as Dubai or Beijing, the project creates an interactive narrative around a fictional multinational developer, “Laputa, Inc.,” who is engaged in the process of envisioning the next urban oasis.

Designed to mimic a construction site, the installation component enables visitors standing in a viewing tower to watch the city as it emerges – a 3D modeled, virtual metropolis of hybrid culture that gently hovers above an undefined landscape below. Yet progress is continually interrupted as a live stream of “breaking news” data, actual news reports from around the world, is mapped onto the city affecting both inhabitants and the built environment. Viewers will be able to see the content of the news flashes as well as watch how it affects the city. As a participatory installation viewers are able to don a virtual hardhat and play a role in the development of the city. A virtual switchboard of controllers linked to the city’s infrastructure awaits their command. Unlike the incompetent erudite of Jonathan Swift’s “Laputa,” does the viewer possess the knowledge to sustain the city or will the fate of “Laputa, Inc.” be determined by the next breaking news flash? (Sourced from 516 ARTS’ grant proposal)

This project was funded as part of the foundation’s 2011 funding cycle, which explores the interchange and dialogue between the non-locality of the digital world and the existential physicality of our everyday environment.

For more information about this artists, visit here.