Celebrating the streetscape and historic architecture of St. Louis, Chandler Ahrens’s View Finder is a faceted, gem-like installation inspired by 17th-century catoptric viewing boxes. This interactive work combines art and architecture with active observation and distortion of perception: looking into View Finder, a series of kaleidoscopic, reflective tubes highlight a selection of views of the surrounding environment, fracturing and flipping the imagery in a collaged tableau. Blurs of traffic are perceived alongside nearby architectural elements, and pedestrians on the sidewalk are inverted, appearing to walk in and out of the sky. Visitors are at once viewers and participants in the interactions within the surrounding environment amplified in the artwork — both perceived and perceptible within the urban streetscape.
Ahrens’ inversion and distortion of the architecture, activity, and views surrounding 21c Museum Hotel St. Louis offers a reminder of how human visual perception functions: our eyes take in the world the upside down, but the brain reverses that perception so that we see the world right-side up.
About the artists
Chandler Ahrens is a co-founder of Open Source Architecture (O-S-A) and an Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Ahrens’ architectural designs focus on materiality and environmental phenomena, combined with computational design processes. Prior to OSA, Ahrens worked at Morphosis Architects designing notable buildings at Cooper Union in New York, NY, and Emerson College in Los Angeles, CA, as well as the Hypo-Alpe Adria Bank in Udine, Italy, and the United States Embassy in London, England.
Open Source Architecture (O-S-A) is an international architectural firm dedicated to the development of pioneering design research. Located in Tel Aviv, St. Louis and Los Angeles, O-S-A’s international nature is reflected in its business profile, integrating technologies and industries from partners around the world for the sake of architectural innovation. O-S-A undertakes architectural tasks that range from industrial design, interior design to residential and commercial buildings; all are devised and executed with the utmost care.