A camera obscura ("dark chamber" in Latin) is an ancient optical device. In its most basic form it is, quite simply, a dark room with a small hole in one wall. On the wall opposite the hole or lens, an image is formed of whatever is outside. This image is upside-down (inverted) and back to front (laterally transposed). A lens can be used to sharpen the projected image and let more light into the room. The camera obscura was the forerunner of photography and the camera.
The Black Box Camera Obscura on Northrop Plaza, part of the Pop-Up Northrop initiative, allows anyone to draw aside a black curtain and enter the small, windowless building, where they can see inverted image of the outside brought inside.
"It provides an unusual place of wonder and a catalyst for conversation - even though it has opened in the winter," explains Professor Rebecca Krinke (Landscape Architecture), who collaborated on the project with landscape architecture graduate student Christopher Tallman, and adjunct faculty Emily Stover (M.L.A. '12). Krinke has been pleased to see its effect on visitors as they express their surprise at seeing Northrop Mall in a new way.
Pop-Up Northrop is funded by an EMC Arts Grant won by Northrop. The goal of this grant is to facilitate a "new creative DNA" for Northrop - to revitalize the ways Northrop works and especially how to work in collaboration with the three new residents in Northrop: the College of Design's Travelers Innovation Lab, The Institute for Advanced Study and the University's Honors Program. The goal is to
bring a series of temporary events, objects, and performances inspired by the revitalized building and its four resident units. Northrop reopens to the public April 2014.
The public is invited to an open house at the Camera Obscura building on Northrop Plaza on Tuesday, December 10th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Coffee, hot cider, and cookies will be provided provided. Can't make it to the Open House? The Black Box Camera Obscura will be open weekdays, 9 a.m. tp 4:00 p.m. through the winter and into the spring.
Contact Rebecca Krinke at 612-801-6629 for more information or a tour of the project. Krinke is a multidisciplinary artist/designer working in public art, sculpture, installations, and site art.
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