Joshuah Jest’s Digital Media

Gestations (iter. 1, Playhouse), 2018 (in progress), Joshuah Jest.

Joshuah Jest is a designer whose work synthesizes his architectural background with his research on media facades and digitally augmented objects. He is concerned with bringing digital information out of screens and into the tangible environment by perceptually integrating dynamic media systems into the physical world through architecture and sculpture.

Currently, amongst his numerous projects, he is working on Gestations, 2018 (in progress).

Gestations (iter. 1, Playhouse) from Joshuah Jest on Vimeo.

Gestations is a multichannel projection installation that would utilize the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse’s highly visible storefront windows on Massachusetts Avenue. The idea is for the installation to feature a series of durational films and animations crafted to match the geometry of the storefront architecture; they will serve as a way to imagine and visualize how such a large un-programmed space might be utilized, and to occupy the space without ever actually stepping foot inside.

The project description is as follows:

Through the language of shadows and cast light the installation would depict elements of the work and lives of the MIT community but in a dream-like exaggerations; holograms, robot arms caught in a never ending cycle of building and deconstructing, a yoga session turned dodgeball game, larger-than-life 3D printers, following in the footsteps of giants, cohabitating with digital files and cursors, the feeling of drowning in knowledge, and trying to make your mark on the world. These films would last for hours, and have no beginning or end, providing ambient visual stories to pedestrians in the summer evenings. 

Part of the installation will also include a public call for student contributions to the installation. Students will be encouraged to use the production model to record films addressing subjects of their own concern such as issue of race, gender, and mental health. The installation will also support other forms of video contribution, such as data visualizations, high-speed mechanical failure analysis, and climate satellite data, ensuring students from all academic background can participate.

The hope is that collecting and visualizing the thoughts and dreams of the MIT community help to strengthen a shared awareness of what is most important to us all, and that these gestations would then in turn inform the development of the campus as it grows.

Joshuah’s works span a wide range of mediums and experiment with alternative methods of recording and displaying digital media, including the integration of media display systems with various forms of architecture, installation work, sculpture, and fashion.

In his Artist Statement, Joshuah describes the interrelationship of screens and our every day life:

Over the last 70 years video media has colonized the built environment in the form of screens; glowing rectangles have appeared in various sizes in our living rooms, on our desks, in the streets, in our bars, in our pockets, on our buildings, on our wrists, and even recently on our faces. Six years ago we passed a tipping point; since then the average American spent more than half of their conscious hours perceptually engaged with various displays. As of three years, the figure had grown to almost 60% percent.

The problem is that screens don’t just augment our surroundings, they compete with them; creating virtual visual pocket realities that actively fight for our individual attention, dividing our minds and the reality we share in the process. Despite every scientific advancement, medical breakthrough, and innovation in entertainment digital media has made possible, weather we choose to admit it or not, digital media in its current form is compromising our mental well-being and societies in many ways.


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