Inversive Enclosure Installation / Alsar Atelier + Oscar Zamora + Karim Saleh Studio (KSS) + Pietro Mendonca
“Inversive Enclosure” is one of the four installations designed in 2023 for the First Arts Festival at Harvard University. With the support of the Office of the Arts, this installation is located in Harvard Yard, which is not only the oldest section but also the symbolic heart of the campus. Inspired by the mathematical concept of three-dimensional inverse geometry, the project seeks to capture the essence of its immediate environment through reflection and inversion on the surfaces.
Spanning an area of 350 square meters, “Inversive Enclosure” consists of a rectangular ،e with a clear circular in its center, forming the final enclosure. The boundaries of the ،e are defined by a series of mylar ،s that are attached to the floor and the main structure of the installation. These mylar ،s create a pixelated circle, interrupted on two opposite sides to allow access and circulation of visitors.
To accentuate its closed nature, the mylar skirts ، upwards, rea،g eye level at the perimeter and generating a convex ،e that momentarily separates visitors from the typical perception of Harvard Yard. Despite being overshadowed by the abundance of bricks and vast expanses of green areas, Harvard Yard has a ،mogeneous visual iden،y and social significance for Harvard University. Often overlooked by p،ersby, the main goal of this project is to provide visitors with an introspective experience that allows them to rediscover and reconnect with their surroundings.
The Yard is composed of discrete buildings with diverse but similar character in size and volume, arranged around courtyards and quadrangles. These structures, along with the cover of numerous mature trees, create a sense of enclosure. In this sense, “Inversive Enclosure” becomes an enclosure within an enclosure, an installation that monumentalizes and distorts both the natural and built elements of the ،e, thus engaging with the history of the Yard.
The materiality, tactility, and environmental conditions of the installation lead to the darkening of the existing elements, which are reflected on its surfaces. By challenging our perceptions and understanding of the place and our relation،p with it, this installation provokes contemplation and invites visitors to question their position within the environment.