The inspiration was data protection patterns, those designs on the inside of security envelopes, and the soundtrack is one of those patterns, digitized and translated into audio. The show wraps you in data—an “information mist,” Jürgen Mayer H., the firm’s principal, calls it.
This is his first solo museum show, but the central conceit isn’t new. That mist—part high-tech wizardry, part gee-whiz playtime—hovers over all his work. Visitors to Stadt.House, a town hall in Stuttgart, walk through a computer-animated waterfall to get inside, and in 2005 they could leave their mark on Urbach’s New York gallery, which Mayer covered in heat-sensitive paint. Forget about a building’s “users.” To Mayer, they’re participants, acting with—or subject to—the architecture. From his office in Berlin, Mayer explained how he brought that idea to SFMOMA.