Christmas is over and its a New Year! What better way to start 2010 than an inspirational vist to ‘Decode’, the brand new exhibition at the Victoria Albert Museum.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the V&A and onedotzero, a contemporary arts organisation operating internationally with a remit to promote innovation across all forms of moving image and interactive a. It explores digital technology though artwork and installation pieces. These are separated into three current digital design themes; Code, Interactivity, and Network.
Code shows how computer code, whether bespoke and tailored, or hacked and shared, has become a new design tool; Interactivity presents works that respond to our physical presence; Network charts or reworks the traces we leave behind.
We visited Decode on a trip to London and on first impressions we were very impressed. The exhibition was a little smaller than expected, however, all in all there are some excellent pieces. Physical computing is a passion of ours and last year we produced the Twitter installation ‘Status 2.0′. We left the exhibition feeling very inspired and looking forward to hopefully developing more interactive installations this year.
Below are a selection of our favourite pieces from Decode:
Interactive art installation which features a hairdryer, adaptive and meditative sound collages and a 3D rendered dandelion.
I really liked the simplicity and beauty of this piece. The attention to detail with the speaker housed in the hairdryer producing the artificial sound of air blowing, and excellent frame rate and realism of seeds being blown from the dandelion. The filters and rendering of the visuals were very realistic.
“The viewer use a hairdryer to blow the seeds off by pointing the hairdryer at the projected dandelion on the screen. The seeds can be blown around after they have come off and the grass also react to the hairdryer. We use an infrared camera to track an infrared beam of light coming from a light source in the tip of the hairdryer. A speaker in the hairdryer plays an adaptive hairdryer sound and speakers in front of the screen play a soundscape that changes depending on where you blow.”
Find out more: www.yoke.dk | www.sennep.com
Weave Mirror (2007)
768 C shaped prints 768 motors, video camera, control electronics.
This was personally my favorite piece at the exhibition, I found the sound of the motors and prints moving fascinating. As you walk past the piece the motors turn the prints and the mirror ‘reflects’ your image by darkening or lighting the wooden pixels, building a reflection. The organic sound follows you as you move and interact with the mirror.
“Weave Mirror assembles 768 motorized and laminated C-shaped prints along the surface of a picture plane that texturally mimics a homespun basket. A seemingly organic smoky portrait comes in focus to the sound made by the sculpture’s moving parts. Informed by traditions of both textile design and new media, the Weave Mirror paints a picture of viewers using a gradual rotation in greyscale value on each C-ring. A playful juxtaposition between the rustic and photographic, this sculpture is suspended from the ceiling. Its functional circuitry and wiring is visible behind the picture plane, exposing its craft.”
Find out more: www.smoothware.com/danny
Body Paint (2009)
This colourful and fun installation works buy tracking your movements. As you wave your arms, splashes of colour are thrown across the screen as though you were throwing paint. A very fun and enjoyable piece communicating the importance and love of play.
“Body Paint is an interactive installation and performance allowing users to paint on a virtual canvas with their body, interpreting gestures and dance into evolving compositions. It is not intended as a painting application, but rather a full-body instrument that people can play with, and create something ‘beautiful’. Something fun that will make them happy and put a smile on their face, the same way finger painting (and getting extremely messy and covered in paint) makes little children happy.”
Find out more: www.msavisuals.com | www.memo.tv
Video Grid (2009)
This installation relies on the participants’ interaction to generate content for the video wall. It allows members of the public, including the What!? team, to film a creative video snapshot.
“An interactive video installation, videogrid consists of a grid of squares (5×5) which can each record a one second loop of film. Participants are free to create giant composite moving portraits, simple narratives, group artworks or simply a collage of moving snapshots . The grid starts empty at the beginning of the installation and becomes a constantly changing collaborative artwork that showcases the creativity of visitors through the space.”
Find out more: www.rossphillips.me | www.showstudio.com
By Chris Kemm