Started last year, This Happened is a series of events focusing on the stories behind interaction design. Hosted by Chris O’Shea (Pixelsumo), Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Muller (Nanika), the evening showcased four recent works of interactive design, inviting speakers discus and present their creative process from conceptual brief through to installation.
First up was Markus Kison, Berlin based artist and creator of Touched Echo. He installed suspended speakers in to the structure of a railing at Brühl’s Terrace, Dresden, a popular tourist spot and a location most severely effected by the Dresden bombings of World War II.
A discreet, minimalist installation, Touched Echo invites visitors to assume the position of the victims of the bombings on February 13th 1945, transforming them to performers as they cover their ears, creating a conductive connection from speaker, through railings and their bones to the inner ear, allowing them to hear the sounds of aeroplanes, the falling of bombs and sounds of explosions.
He noticed that although the location received many visitors, the visual landscape lacks a focus. So profound the difference but for the bombings, the gesture and immersive audio stimuli transports the visitor back in time but also acts as a modern, respectable memorial.
Next up was rAndom International, a London-based experimental design collective founded in 2005 by Hannes Koch, Stuart Wood and Flo Ortkrass. Their installation, Audience, recently at the Royal Opera House consisted of 64 head-size mirrors ‘objects’, motorised – and equally characterised – to interact with visitors and passers-by. Subverting the role of the opera goer from that of intending to watch, to be being (quite inescapably) watched themselves by an array of inquisitive and responsive objects.
It was only on for three days at the Opera House, I would have loved to have visited. As they said too, catching up via blog after-the-event can’t compare to the interactive experience:
An interesting organic form but mechanical mass, the Cloud is a 3D shape with a surface of over 4000 ‘flip-dots’, those traditionally used for non-digital signage in train stations and airports. Controlled by bespoke ‘animation’ software able to address each dot individually, the end result is almost as memorising as it is calming, looping on 24-hour evolving cycles accompanied by the rippling sounds of each flip-dot ticking over.
Finally we had UnitedVisualArtists, presenting ‘Constellation’, a light-based sculptural intervention designed for the indoors of Covent Garden Market Halls.
A very grand architectural installation, it is made up of 264 LED-strip lights hung from the cavernous space, cycling sequences of lights and patterns across the ceiling for the Christmas season. There’s also a touch screen interactive surface, allowing visitors to control individual lights or affect sweeping gestures across the structure.
It opens tomorrow night, hopefully I should be able to attend and give it a go.