International Hotel is a hypothetical terminal-like structure which takes the shape of a JSON file. In it where various spaces from across the world, no matter their physical properties or location in the time axis, come together to create an imaginary 3-story building. In it, the viewer, with navigating the corridors, can access any of them. The spaces were all submitted by people who are in them as they looked like at the time and place- bedrooms, kitchens, a supermarket, a reading room in a library, a basement, etc.
The premise of this piece was to look at the branch-like structure of JSON files and building a piece within this raw data, which normally one would try to hide in the very back of a website. It is not attached to any visual elements, interfaces, buttons, etc, but is merely a raw 9 kilobyte .json/.txt file. This file can be loaded onto a 3rd-party reading software to navigate the contents. When shown through any of these apps, the data will take shape in tree-like structure, similar to how hotels are laid out. The user then can navigate this tree and explore its contents. This kind of exploration would mostly be done by web-developers to manage data, but in this case it is a non-linear adventure in itself. All of the spaces in the hotel they exist in the real world and If one follows the coordinates and finds himself in the right physical circumstances, he will, if the space hasn't changed, find it exactly as it was stored and described in its location of International Hotel.
The development of the piece was largely driven by my interest of using JSON files as a mapping device and how, using such a format, a space could be created. Perhaps a space which would be difficult to visualise and impossible to build using the real-life physics. My role, in all of this, was and is that of an intermediary, collecting the spaces sent in, completely anonymously. I place them in the location that the documenter wanted them to be. This makes the owner of the space not me, but everyone who has participated.
Only recently I had noticed that this kind spatial and dimensional aspect is visible in many of my works. I am interested in exploring how the nature and characteristic of various formats can be used to create a multi-layered relationships. I have already tried my hand at various digital formats- in this case it happened to be data storing.
While the construction of the hotel is currently on hold, it will be expanded and, at some point, will be available online.
Let me know if you want to see the project for yourself.
Plan of the hotel as it stands now.
For the Typography project I developed a series of six puzzles in the form of fonts, which make use of font format's structure and the nature of how a keyboard is interacted with when used to type text.
How it works:
1) Install the puzzles' font files, just like one would do it with any other .otf/.ttf font
2) Open Any graphic software with a text editor, Photoshop, Illustrator, MS Word, etc.
3) Choose one of the puzzles under the font drop-down menu
4) Start typing and looking for the combination. Since they are grid-based, all of the parts are on grid-shaped on the keyboard. For example, for a 4x4 puzzle the area of work would be the keys 1234 QWER ASDF ZXCV
5) Under each picture there is a solution. If you paste the characters while typing the puzzle, the completed image will get rendered.
Similar to International Hotel, the puzzles are contained within a structureless file format, but they can be imported in to a text and image production software to explore the file systems. I considered variety: (almost) every puzzle is in a different art realm. As a linking theme I chose authors of Latvian descent, a nod to my identity.
My interest in creating multi-layered structures which use the format and its space was also the driving of this project. In this case, while the fonts themselves are just fonts, given how a user would interact with them, but when combined with the user experience, the physical keyboard, the context, the correct combination all become part of the font. These are all ways of adding imaginary spatial qualities to an otherwise simple format.
Free download of the whole puzzles' pack.
Taken from a photo of water by @luize.mk on Instagram. In the comments someone had commented that ''this water could make of a good puzzle''. I saw this the sign that I had to use this photo. Additionally, by adding a work from the virtual world, I give a nod to the contemporary cultures.
The source of the image is a oil painting of mine from 2014, which I made inspiring from the wooden houses of Ķīpsala island which is in the middle of the main river going through the capital of Latvia. It only seemed right to plant in a piece by myself too, not only others.
Original: Tumblr link
Based on the wonderful Vija Celmins's (Latv.:Vija Celmiņa) linocut artwork Comet, from Skowhegan Suite. She is best known for photo-realistic paintings and drawings of natural environments and phenomena such as the ocean, spider webs, star fields, and rocks.
Given the very small amount of visual clues, it is pretty much impossible to solve the puzzle without studying the original. However, because the original piece portrays such a deep 3-dimensional space (literally too), the typer can instead try out rearranging the void, stars and the XYZ-room to make his/her own cosmos, a process which is very visually subtle but incredibly powerful and large-scale imagination and space-wise. This spatial quality is very similar to that of the International Hotel, mentioned above.
Based on a drawing of a girl by Latvian graphic artist Sigismunds Vidbergs who is well-known with his erotica works which he made with very delicate line work.
Based on a classic Latvian tale Laima Mother's three wishes, which was my favourite written piece of during my early childhood. It is about thinking of what you are doing and not rushing. In it Laima Mother, the goddess of destiny in Latvian mythology, comes to visit two peasants in a cold winter. She offers them 3 wishes as they had been good to her, but because of their ignorance and stupidity they waste all three.
With text displayed instead of purely visual images, the typer must look for clues in words and the grammatical and narrative context to figure out whether a block is in the right place. It is possible, however to shuffle the blocks to create gibberish text pieces which resembles Latvian in its word structure and sounds, but is overall completely nonsensical.
Because the Latvian text-based puzzle was very intriguing linguistically. I also made one from Aesop's tale The Fox and the Crow, another favourite of mine, so that the English speakers could also find some interest in the method.
Interestingly, because of how English uses more letter chains to represent sounds, this version is not as susceptible to custom gibberish. In a way it has some resemblance to Gaelic.