Magic mirrors, crystal balls and frozen waterfalls all have a place in folklore as means by which witches could see what was happening far far away. Of course modern technology like television, CCTVs and increasingly the Internet mean we can have the power without losing our souls. Studio Swine has packaged this modern technology into a cabinet from a different age that shows the world at the opening of a door.
Prism Cabinet was made in collaboration with Keiichi Matsuda as an extension of his “Prism” installation at the V&A. The cabinet holds a 180-degree holographic representation of the work in its heart. Each of the facets streams information collected from various places throughout London, from the tidal levels of the Thames to energy consumption at 10 Downing Street. The cabinet itself is a “crazy paving” mix and match of reclaimed hardwood found throughout the city it shows. Mahogany, maple and teak mesh with marmoleum to create a frenetic pattern that reflects the nature of the information shown inside. The cabinet was inspired by 16th century curiosity cabinets, which were used by the people of that time to keep interesting this from places far away. The tasseled handles, dramatic butterfly doors and corner protectors hark from a time when more was more.
Prism Cabinet was commissioned by Veuve Clicquot for Andaz Hotel and acts as an alternative to mobile phones and computers to view to greater world we live in. By placing the holograph within the depths of the cabinet, the sense of wonder about the world that so many of us have lost is reawakened.