As the debut program for After Hours, Marco Brambilla transformed the Room Mate Grace Hotel pool into an immersive installation. His site-specific installation, titled Materialize/De-materialize, was a video work projected on the surface of the of the lobby swimming pool. Brambilla focused on the transitional aspect of the Times Square location, through which millions of people from around the globe pass every year.
Brambilla used video samples from the “Transporter room” effect from the original Star Trek television series, where the characters were “De-materialized” then teleported through space and “Re-materialized” at their destination. Groupings of hundreds of characters were introduced using this effect, each edited into a motion loop where they were never fully revealed, and always appeared on the verge of departure or arrival, trapped in a perpetual state of transition. To produce this work, Brambilla sampled each instance where this effect appears in the 27 episodes of the original Star Trek television series (1966-69), then removed each character from the original background, leaving only the outline of the person appearing and disappearing in a shimmering curtain of floating sparkle. The characters appeared grouped into discrete rings on a black field; they gradually grew in size and multiplied endlessly before dissipating back into the black field. Characters seemed to migrate from ring to ring randomly forever trapped in this constantly regenerating moment of flux. Brambilla’s installation was complemented by an organ composition and performance by Cammisa Buerhaus.