a pop-up exhibit

(physical and digital model)

8 minute presentation

A De-Material



I created an exhibit for Carnegie Mellon's Miller Institute of Contemporary Art that introduced American artist Doug Aitken. This exhibit is supposed to bring traction to Aitken's piece "Migration (empire)" which was shown in full length on Carnegie Museum of Art's website.

I was very interested in using a physical attraction to direct people's attention towards a virtual work.


Fall 2020

individual school project 

Sketchup, Illustrator, Photoshop



Use technology such as distance and tilt sensors to create immersive experiences for exhibit guests


Learn how to create a concise narrative around an experimental artist like Doug Aitken who constantly tries out new mediums and ideas


When I visited the Carnegie Museum of Art to find a artist for this project, I noticed the importance of position and sequence when it comes to presenting artwork. This visit made me more wary of how much effect colored walls and lighting affected the atmosphere of one's visit.

When I picked Doug Aitken as my focus artist, I was blown away by his breathe: from architecture to film to making art with moving trains! The following mood board represented my problem: the difficultly of narrowing his style and message into one theme.

Finding THAT theme

After writing a lot of messy notes and listening to Doug himself through interviews, I decided to describe Aitken's art as "De-Material" for three reasons.


He uses various different mediums to make art.

He makes art anywhere, from old motel rooms to grassy hills in Switzerland.

His films don't follow a linear storyline and instead feels spontaneous yet harmonious.

Through these methods, Doug Aitken detaches himself from materialism to tell a stories reflecting the fragmented times of the 21st century.

Evolving floor plan

My first floor plan included one introduction (green) and three immersive interactions (pink, beige, and blue). It did not use the space efficiently and had a specific sequence that strictly controlled visitor flow.

For my final floor plan, I eliminated the pink interaction so that I can flush out the other sections of my exhibit more and also allow visitors to choose their sequence of experiencing the different interactions.

Artist Introduction

To resemble a more traditional gallery experience, I have an artist blurb on a sand colored wall. When visitors hover over the highlighted words with their hand, the image on the screen to their right changes to one of Aitken's pieces. This way, visitors can immediately see a visual that matches the words they are reading. Visitors can also flip through images using the white arrows.

Migration (empire) teaser

Migration is a film about indigenous animals being uncomfortable in a manmade motel and feeling unfamiliar textures like bed sheets and swimming pool floors. Therefore, I wanted my visitors to feel that discomfort by taking off their shoes and sitting on the floor in a public space. The screen will show a 10 minute looping clip that prompts visitors to watch the full film.

Song 1 audio and visual experience

Aitken's most impactful work is his 360° cinema piece "Song 1". Although the piece is too large to fit in this gallery, I wanted to take certain elements from the film to make a unique experience exemplifying the theme "De-Material".

First, visitors enter the black-out curtains on the right.

The screen prompts visitors to wear headphones provided by the gallery to start experience and to hang them back up to end experience.

Visitors see themselves on the large screen while hearing Aitken speaking. Hearing Aitken explain his practice reveals his philosophical views and intelligence. Audio of "Song 1" plays in the background, which is an ethereal version of the song "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos.

When the visitor moves around the white circle printed on the floor, the screens react. Large images start breaking up into smaller replicas, symbolizing oneself de-materializing. Aitken's work shown during the artist's introduction start appearing again too.

As the visitor's fragments and Aitken's fragments intermingle onscreen, the de-material experience ends.



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