Marek Walczak



Marek Walczak (b. 1957)
Martin Wattenberg (b. 1970)
Apartment, 2001
Website and networked installation, computers, printer, desk, and projector
Commissioned by New Radio and Performing Arts Inc. for its Turbulence website with funds from the Jerome Foundation. Additional programming by Jonathan Feinberg

On a blank screen, viewers type in texts of their choice. Rooms appear on the monitor as a two-dimensional plan, similar to a blueprint. The architecture is based on a semantic analysis of the viewers’ words, reorganizing them to reflect the underlying themes they express. This structure is then translated into navigable three-dimensional dwellings composed of images that appear as a projection on the wall behind the monitor. Viewers may navigate these 3-D environments, while the texts they typed are read back by means of text-to-speech software.

The “apartments” created during the exhibition and on the Apartment website are clustered into buildings and cities according to their semantic relationships. Visitors can also print out their “apartment” and take it home.

Apartment is inspired by the idea of the memory palace, a mnemonic technique from a pre-Post-it era. In the second century BCE, the Roman orator Cicero imagined inscribing the themes of a speech on a suite of rooms in a villa, and then delivering that speech by mentally walking from space to space. Establishing an equivalence between language and space, Apartment connects the written word with different forms of spatial configuration.



Marek Walczak and
Martin Wattenberg

Beth Stryker and
Sawad Brooks