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Experimental Design

Dominika Szemik

Dominika Szemik is a spatial artist. Her process involves exploring the material properties of abstract ideas and translating them into 3-dimensional experiences. She questions the impact of the environment on the human being and aims to evoke a deeper intuitive connection between the conceptual and the physical. Her work centres around the subjects of chaotic complexities, the relationship between human and nature, and perception of visual stimuli.

Before her exploratory endeavours at the RCA, Dominika was involved in several collaborative projects as a part of BA Interior and Spatial Design at the UAL. This includes the curation of the “Floating City”(2019), a public installation at the V&A, the “Japanese Tea House”(2017) at Tate Exchange, and a research project in collaboration with BGU social science students in Tokyo(2018). 


RCA Show2021 - IED Physical Show: "BEEP BEEP" - 23 July 2021 to 25 July 2021 

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Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Design

The Fragile Giant

The project emerged from a collaborative exchange with the Synthetic Anatomy students from King’s College. I was inspired by the research that focused on the plausible impact of gravity on Mars on the human body. The red planet has 38% of that of Earth. It is predicted that over time the size of a human body would increase while the bone density would decrease.

I use this prediction and turn it into an immersive experience, showcasing a 2.5m sculpture of a giant made from glass wax, which I pour onto prepared forms. As the forces of gravity ossify imprinted in wax, the hand that directs its flow feels the weight of cosmological rules directing the patterns. The process I follow results in an incredibly fragile structure that takes over two weeks to install, as upon any force it brakes and requires retouching. The sculpture is temporary and as time passes bends and shifts under gravity. It shimmers and glows as the lights dance on its surface, presenting the idea of interplanetary travel in a form of a fantom. 


Ocular Pleasure Cube

This sculpture is designed for the Pleasure Gardens in the Battersea Park. The site is covered with the ageing structures from the Festival of Britain. The aim of the event was to lift the spirit after the World War II. Channeling the educational and playful spirit of 1952 in current times of uncertainty, the piece aims to question the nature of reality whilst providing visual entertainment. It adopts an iconographic shape of space and is covered with silicone wings that vibrate in wind. As the sun sets the wings glow in the dark making the form appear alive.

My Approach

In my practise I take human and space as my subject of study. I am interested in how our perception of the human body and the fabric of space alters through scientific discovery and technology. My question is: how does it affect the way we conceive space for human occupation if neither human nor space is what we expected? How does space affect our human experience and to what extent are we programmed by our environments?

I use 3-dimensional patterns as means to create codes for complex ideas in a visual and abstracted form. My hope is that the spatial interventions I create encourage emotional tensions, which in turn enable intuitive investigations. This is a highly personal process, in which the individual significance emerges. I aim to create spaces where concepts are experienced, rather than understood.