Interview with Boaz Cohen from BCXSY
Set up in 2007, BCXSY is an anagram of co-founders Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto’s initials. In Reciprocal Syntax, BCXSY makes collaboration an uplifting experience. Reciprocal Syntax is a playful installation based around a seesaw, sensors and a fabric projection screen. In this recent work, the design duo made the interactive audio-visual installation to illustrate their collaborative process.
Developed and realised in collaboration with Budapest-based digital artists Gabor Papp and Gáspár Hajdu (XORXOR) and Ágoston Nagy (Binaura), the Reciprocal Syntax installation was exhibited as part of The Conversation Show, curated by Maria Cristina Didero for the Design Museum Holon in Israel.
In BCXSY’s own words, the installation consists of “a seesaw, surrounded by semi-transparent projection fabric suspended from a rectangular frame, resembling an immersive display case. A sensor integrated in the seesaw continuously registers parameters, varying according to the specific state of the piece at a given moment.
Once the seesaw is in use, visual elements are projected onto the suspended fabrics while a soundscape fills the entire space. The audio-visual content is real-time, generated by processing the data collected by the sensor.
The users are not being given any instructions, but are rather left to explore and discover the effects of the interaction”.
As the participants move up and down on the seesaw, a background of “abstract landscapes, consisting of various elements, continuously evolve and transform around them.”
Reciprocal Syntax, an interactive audio-visual installation
During your work process you say that you develop an “intuitive, playful and abstract language". Could you elaborate on that?
When we communicate during a creative-process our conversations may often appear somewhat unclear to an outsider – as we may just use some words/parts of sentences, visual references, etc. It’s rather intuitive and less common, thanks to our deep, long connection and knowing each other well. We experience the result as playful and abstract – as if creating our own language.
Could you provide some examples?
A little difficult, since it’s so abstract, but it could be looking at – and moving – images around, naming some keywords, thinking out loud (often in “broken” sentences) and/or completing each others words.
Is Reciprocal Syntax up and running at the moment? If not, when will it be on show again?
The installation was commissioned for The Conversation Show by Maria Cristina Didero, which ended last October . We are currently in contact with, and considering a couple of venues/partners for the following show, which should include some further development within the content as well.
Ideas for BCXSY’s Reciprocal Syntax sketched out during the development process
Does the installation represent the collaborative process between just you and Sayaka? Or between BCXSY and other collaborators as well?
The brief of the commission was about illustrating our personal process, although we are pretty confident that many others share some similarities. We wanted to allow the visitors a chance to experience the illustration of our process, but the focus is in any case on the dialogue between two individuals and less about a third party.
What makes for a successful collaboration?
Probably the most important part is sharing the enthusiasm, certain core values and vision. From our experience you cannot successfully force a goal or motivation without truly sharing certain values. This way things may work for a while, but most likely not for long.
How do you choose the collaborators you work with?
In most cases we have actually been fortunate so far to be ‘chosen’ by our collaborators. But also when we approach a partner the situation is often pretty much straight-forward; there should be mutual interest and appreciation of each other’s practices – and also a personal click.
What are you working on now?
In the past months we have been mainly focusing on self-reflection and various transitions within our practice.
As an interdisciplinary design studio we have been working in a wide range of fields, techniques and materials, but to a certain extent it has occured to us that along the years the distinctiveness of our vision, values and working methods may have become too abstract to the outside viewer.
Since the core of our practice is about working together with, or for other parties, it is important for us to help our clients better understand the value we can offer and how we can apply it and collaborate.
But besides that we are of course working on several projects, including travel-accessories, lighting and a spatial installation.
Reciprocal Syntax project credits:
Concept: BCXSY (@bcxsy / www.bcxsy.com)
Installation filming/photography: Klau Rothkegel (@klau_rothkegel / www.krothkegel.com)
Process photography/video: Ágoston Nagy, Gabor Papp, Gáspár Hajdu and BCXSY
Edit: Przemek Siemion (@przemion / www.przemion.com)
Dancers: Daria Makarova & Dmitriy Zholkovskiy
Studio project assistant: Chia Lin Liao
Supported by: Adam Somlai-Fischer (@adam_somlai_fischer)/Prezi (@prezicom / www.prezi.com) and the Creative Industries Fund NL (@stimuleringsfonds)