Falling Light by Troika

Falling Light by Troika is an installation that will be available to view at the V&A;’s British Design exhibition opening on 31st March.

50 ceiling suspended mechanical devices each incorporating a custom cut Swarovski crystal optical lens, a computer programmed motor and a white LED, comprise TROIKA’s installation ‘Falling Light’.

The white-painted metal armatures rise in syncopation by rotating cam before gravity releases them earthward, activating the LED to move away, closer to the crystal lens. The lens acts as a prism, transforming through diffraction, the LED’s white light into a rainbow myriad, in turn creating the rhythmical ebb and flow of the floor-strewn droplets.

I always like how technology plays a part in Troika’s work, but it’s as a medium, not as the content. Words don’t do it justice — Seb describes it best in this video.

An Audience of Mirrors

Audience from Chris O'Shea on Vimeo.

Audience is a new installation from rAndom International, with software by Chris O’Shea, for the Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House. 64 mirrors are places in a ‘crowd’ and programmed to behave with different ‘human’ characteristics.

It’s a witty reversal of the normal roles of art and audience although obviously still in the vein of camera-based interactives (and following on from interactive mirror works by people like Danny Rozin. But for me the two most interesting things are how simple movements can make the mirrors seem quite alive and sentient as well as how people try to “work out” or “trick” the system.

Check out the guy in the pink t-shirt who ends up performing for the other onlookers in the video above. It’s always fascinating to see how physical interactives can make people do all sorts of things they would otherwise not consider doing in a public space.

Hector Serrano’s Waterdrop


Hector Serrano has finally presented his Waterdrop installation for Roca at 100% Design London. I wish I was there to see it myself. It looks like a stunning installation with hundreds of rods tipped with blue light set into a ‘floor’ that can undulate like water ripples.

There are plenty of images and info on the site and be sure to check out the Making Of… gallery.

Hector’s next project is designing and curating Spain Emotion at Tokyo Designer’s Week 30 Oct – 3 Nov 2008.

(I did an podcast with Hector for Core77 a while back for your listening pleasure…).

I Want You To Want Me by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar


Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, who created one of my all time favourite interactive pieces, We Feel Fine, have a new piece called I Want You To Want Me commissioned for MoMA’s Design and The Elastic Mind show.

I Want You To Want Me explores the world of online dating, scraping data from thousands of online profiles all in search of love. As with We Feel Fine the interaction is simple, but allows you to view the data in lots of beautiful, emotional and meaningful ways. The interface is made up of balloons representing each person and each one has one of over 500 specially shot video silhouettes inside it.

The ways of looking at the data are described as movements and include things like “Who I Am” and “What I Want” along with “Openers”, “Closers” and “Taglines”, which are used in the profile descriptions. There’s also a matchmaker section:

Matchmaker algorithmically pairs people based on their descriptions of who they are and what they’re looking for. Balloon couples emerge on the horizon and drift to the foreground, before pausing side by side for a few seconds and then floating off together.

The project’s website explains it all in detail with some great images from it. A real treat is that they also documented their process with sketches, photos, etc.

[tags]Jonathan Harris, Sep Kamvar, MoMA, installation, dating[/tags]

Troika is on Cloud, er, Five

If you haven’t already explored the background behind Troika’s cloud for BA’s Terminal 5 – “a five meter long digital sculpture whose surface is covered with 4638 flip-dots that can be individually addressed by a computer to animate the entire skin of the sculpture” – Pixelsumo has got the goods and also images of the Processing pattern mock-up tool.

More development images and info here.

Or just watch the video above and wish you had done it.

[tags]troika, artwork, installation, cloud, processing[/tags]

Greyworld’s Monument to the Unknown Artist

01the_monument 1.jpg

Greyworld have unveiled their project, Monument to the Unknown Artist. Andrew Shoben showed me the maquette of it in Geryworld’s studio early last year and I was really wondering how and if they were actually going to make it.

You really need to take a look at the video on their site to see it in action, but basically it looks like a statue but is, in fact, a robot that can mimic your stance. It’s installed by the Tate Modern, so if you’re in town go and strike a pose.

UPDATE: There is an accompanying microsite for the project with many more images and info.

[tags]art, interactive, greyworld, installation[/tags]

Hereafter by United Visual Artists


United Visual Artists have a lovely new piece called Hereafter, which is very similar to elements of my Time Sketches in that it layers frames from a video stream with minimal opacity so that it builds up over time.

They’ve done it much better than I did, though, not only because of the wonderful setting and the custom housing by Based Upon but because they use a high-speed camera to massively slow down your ‘ghost’ image. I can see it changes the style of the interaction and gets people moving around in space in interesting ways.

There is a basic element of interaction which is about seeing the results of your actions. This seems to always be the most fruitful with cameras – we’re all narcissistically fascinated by our own images of course. But there’s another aspect that I think Hereafter and Time Sketches (and plenty of others) plug into and that’s the idea of warping time. Slow motion and time-lapse cinematography are both fascinating and I think it’s because they’re on the fringes or outside of our normal senses of perception. X-Ray and infrared are also interesting in this respect, but there’s something about messing with time that seems to engage people, especially when it’s their own image.

Hereafter is part of the English Heritage Picture House exhibition. You can view more images and a video on UVA’s website.

(p.s. I did another Podcast with Matt Clark from UVA for Core77 that will be online soon. I’ll post a link when it’s up.)

[tags]UVA, camera, interactivity, installation, time sketches[/tags]

Out of Bounds interview with Chris O’ Shea


Chris O’ Shea recently completed Out of Bounds during his residency at the Design Museum. Chris also writes the very good Pixelsumo from which I frequently steal links draw inspiration and I’ve been a little remiss about blogging this earlier, but Chris promised to also put some video documentation up online (which helps explain the project) and also agreed to do a short interview.

Out of Bounds makes real the childhood fantasy of having superhero X-Ray vision to explore parts of the Design Museum that are normally not accessible to the public. It’s also an extremely playful piece that, as Chris puts it, encourages adults to “relinquish the learnt behaviour of adulthood and reconnect with the wonderment of youth.”

Click the read link for the interview…. Continue reading “Out of Bounds interview with Chris O’ Shea”