Saturday, January 30, 2010

Decode: Digital Design Sensations

Decode: Digital Design Sensations at the V&A is a visually stunning feast of frequently interactive delights. Some of the exhibits exist in a state of perpetual evolution, triggered by external factors such as the wind or sales figures on the Stock Exchange whilst others are directly influenced by the action/interaction of the audience.
Body Paint by Mehmet Akten is a large scale interactive installation in which the movements of the audience are translated into colour washes or explosions on the digital screen. Whilst the audience doesn't appear to have any control over the colours they rapidly discover the effects produced by a range of gestures, from subtle flicks of the fingers to expansive sweeps of the arm. Dandelion by YOKE is another responsive piece where the audience uses a hairdryer (which houses a hidden infrared beam) to blow away the seeds from a Dandelion head. Almost ethereal in its beauty this piece belies the complexity of the programming required to produce such graceful motion.
Stockspace by Marius Watz is also driven by external influences but this time it is the Stock Market. The animations are shown in real time with the colours and shapes that are formed being in response to fluctuations in economic trading. I was particularly taken with this rendering which reminded me of files, and papers, in a rotary filing stack that has exploded. Great fun to watch but I would love to have seen a link to the reality of the stock market trading floors.

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