Interactive digital video artist John Carpenter is getting a closeup at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. In a few hours, nominees and presenters hanging out in the Architectural Digest official Green Room will be greeted at the entrance by a moody, mesmerizing and glamorous nine-screen video installation.
The work, Stars Squared, uses 84 images of Hollywood stars, taken from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library and representing every year that the awards have been held. Actors pictured include Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Heath Ledger and Theda Bara. “A computer will pick the images at random, and as it does, a field of ‘stars’ will float through the frame, reacting to each image and caressing the highlights,” says curator Paul Young of Young Projects, which has recently given a solo show of Carpenter’s work.
The interactive element comes into play as visitors to the backstage lounge walk by. “When they do, the ‘stars’ become stardust and swirl around like a snow globe,” says Young.
Another interactive piece by Carpenter, Dandelion, 2012 (pictured), will play on a screen in the Green Room’s faux garden room, complete with faux hedges and decorated with outdoor furniture, located just off the main Green Room area. Waving your arms in front of it causes the dandelion head to “explode into millions of bristles with luminescent spores softly floating and swirling in the air,” says Young.
This is the 10th year that Architectural Digest has created the official Green Room for the Oscar show, offering a high-design space for nominees and presenters to hang out in before and after making appearances on the telecast stage. This year, the space was designed by celebrated Los Angeles designer Waldo Fernandez, known for creating houses for such stars as Keanu Reeves, Taylor and Brad Pitt as well as West Hollywood’s Soho House.
Fernandez chose to create the room in dark tones as a haven from the bright lights of the show and red carpet. “It’s moody. We hope they can relax,” says Fernandez. He was inspired by Art Deco and Hollywood of the 1930s and ’40s, specifically the Beverly Hills house of legendary director George Cukor that was designed by Billy Haines and was published in Architectural Digest years back. “The way he used to live was so glamorous, having parties every Friday at the house — from young movie stars to older movie stars to gay people, which was very quiet at the time. He would mix all of them together,” says Fernandez. Art from the era, on loan from Questroyal Fine Art, includes pieces by Charles Burchfield and William Glackens.