Cameron McNall pursues dual careers as architect and artist. This section explores some of the art and design work that influences his architecture. The scope of his work is wide and encompasses architecture, sculpture, installation art, photography, film, interactive projects. He received a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design from UCLA. Between schools he was mentored in the office of Glen Fleck, who was the chief design associate to Charles Eames for many years. After Harvard he worked in several New York architecture offices, and then taught for twelve years as a Professor at UCLA in the Department of Design Media Arts. Cameron is the Principal of the art and design firm Electroland that he co-founded with Damon Seeley in 2001. Personal awards include the Rome Prize in Architecture, the PS#1 Studio Artist Fellowship, various NEA grants and fellowships in Sculpture and Design, the Architectural League Young Architects Award, and presentation in the Siggraph animation festival. Electroland has installed public art projects across the United States. Commercial clients have included Gensler, HOK, AECOM, Stantec, Google, DirecTV, Target, Forest City and Westfield. Electroland projects are published regularly in international publications and design websites, and have been featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum Triennial in New York. Work may be seen on this website and at: www.electroland.net.
4016 Tivoli is a personal expression of design influences spanning a lifetime in art and design. Photography remains the most important means of visual exploration. Cameron first immersed himself in the contrasty black and white grainy darkness of Tri-X film in the years 1970-78, followed by mostly Kodachrome 25 using a 35mm Nikkormat FE-2 after 1978, then finally serious use of full-frame Nikon digital technology starting in 2008. These representative photos of those three different eras were taken in Swindon, England 1971; San Francisco 1980; and Barcelona 2004.
Shadows and silhouettes are a major interest as they exist in a strange place between two-dimensional and three-dimensional form, particularly when they move or rotate. Early projects at PS#1 and at Art on the Beach in Long Island City featured shadow-generating machines in habitable environments and structures. Visitors entered to become immersed in the shadow world.
For the Hollywood Shadow Project in 2002, seven large-scale shadow installations derived from iconic movie scenes were precisely situated on rooftops to cast figurative shadows onto the building facades across the street. The shadows refer to their Hollywood place of production and suggest that "public language" and "city memory" are inextricably tied to ephemeral media images. The sun provided both the illumination to re-project these optically gained images and the motion to animate them.
Many years of investigation with non-orthogonal forms resulted in a series of conceptual projects starting in 1987, several years before "tessellated" structures became fashionable in architecture. This work evolved to influence the design of a unique residence in Palo Alto in 1992, and in 1993 a tessellated glass retrofit was proposed as an attachment to an existing office tower, providing interior free green space and a self-sustaining exchange of carbon-dioxide to oxygen via a massive plenum between the two structures.
Electroland explores interactive information technologies in all possible permutations, using light, touch, gesture, person tracking and sound. The work shown here was exhibited in Barcelona, Spain; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Xiamen, China.
Electroland has an international audience for its large-scale interactive projects. For the RGB project, eighty-one lights extending over 500 feet were mounted in the windows of the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Visitors dialed a telephone number that allowed them to control the lights on the building remotely with their mobile. This project was amongst the first to incorporate a mobile device into an interactive project that performs at an urban scale. Successive projects employed a variety of sensing technologies so that the visitor interaction became completely intuitive, free of any instruction or devices. They include "Enteractive," a responsive building facade and interactive entry called in downtown Los Angeles; the "Target Interactive Breezeway," an interactive space at the top floor of Rockefeller Center; "Aurora," the new lobby for DirecTV in El Segundo, California; "SKATE 1.0," a temporary sound and light installation at the A+D Museum in Los Angeles; and "Connection," a sound and light interactive walkway in the Indianapolis International Airport.
Electroland explores the many ways to incorporate ephemeral screen-based imagery into buildings and into the landscape. Shown here: a mock-advertising campaign called "SALE" in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; "College Faces," a massive video wall displaying slow-motion video of the faces of students and faculty inside Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut; "Aether," in the entry of an apartment in New York City; "RELAX," one of several long screens illuminating the length of a terminal in the Denver International Airport.
Electroland projects include interactive sculpture. For "Metalmatisse" in Norfolk, Virginia, thirteen interactive "flowers" react with sound and light to the presence of visitors. Other projects include "Metallotus," a 28 foot suspended flower in downtown Los Angeles and "Sprung," an upside-down bouquet of 22 colorful flowers that erupt in a riot of light and sound, also located in Los Angeles.
Electroland proposed the distribution of thousands of brightly colored inflatable structures to provoke a dialog about the invisibility and marginalization of the homeless. Our goal was to “rebrand” the homeless through the presence of these inflatable shelters, creating a new category, the “Urban Nomad.” By displacing the stigma associated with provisional shelters like cardboard boxes and blue tarps, the question of where the Urban Nomads are allowed to sleep at night also becomes more problematic. It is easier to sweep away a “homeless” person in a cardboard box than an “Urban Nomad” in a high-design lime green inflatable shelter. We wanted to provoke the question: why does society devote so much public space for parking automobiles, and yet none of it is considered suitable for housing people?
The new west coast lobby headquarters of DirecTV is shaped by a luminous video canopy called "Aurora," designed and built by Electroland in 2013. 47,000 LED RGB light nodes are diffused by 600 special white curved plastic panels. Visitors are tracked and their color contributes to the overall video show when the goddess Aurora appears on a large array of HD video screens in the rear. This project is a landmark demonstration of the use of computer modeling and CNC fabricated construction, and may be the world's first complex-curved video screen. Several technologies perfected in this project aided in the design and construction of the facade of 4016 Tivoli.
"Realtime" is a Pynchon-like short movie that follows the actress Jill Evyn as she wanders Los Angeles in search of the elusive Hollywood, as embodied in the Hollywood sign. Along her journey she passes through a series of dystopian landscapes that bear an uncanny resemblance to several Electroland projects. Other Electroland work may be viewed at www.electroland.net.