Joshuah is a designer 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. His current work synthesizes his architectural background (B.Arch. Rice University, Thomas Phifer and Partners) with his research on media facades and digitally augmented objects (Urbanscreen).
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, whether we choose to admit it or not, digital media in its current form is compromising our mental well-being and societies in many ways.
We currently use screens as portals through which we can peer into the wonderful world of information and constructs, but we do so at the cost of detaching ourselves to some degree from our natural surroundings. We gain a sense of immersion but lose track of reality; of time, of space, of the people around us, and of ourselves.
Jest’s growing body of work seeks to invert this paradigm of immersion, to instead allow digital information, images, and phenomena to enter into our shared space. Here, in our natural surroundings, free of the tell-tale signs of digital displays (pixels, bezels, flatness, etc), and more respectful of the laws of physics (momentum, energy density, temporal and spatial continuity), information and synthetic images can be presented so that they are not immediately dismissed by the mind as immaterial signals to be left to higher brain function, but are instead interpreted as indications of immediate material consequence. Staged as such, digital information and synthetic images can be perceived by a wider array of human senses and processed more deeply by the hindbrain, leading to deeper sympathy, emotional provocation, understanding, and retention of content.
To achieve this effect, Jest’s wide-ranging works experiment with alternative methods of recording and displaying digital media, including integrating media display systems with various forms of architecture, installation work, sculpture, and fashion.