There seem to be a couple of methodological trends in at the moment which really move away from the simple fundamentals of play and interactivity that have occupied the realm of interactive digital arts for some time. These are:
Augment reality and augmented virtuality and how it becomes mobile and therefore wearable (making us its transport system) and this then automatically leads to the haptics and the exploration of digital arts in public spaces.
I actually saw non of this except in the University of Tokyo exhibition, which was orientated around the exhibition area and not in public spaces, but did enjoy a couple of other public and performance works around the city of Linz.
I’ll just quickly explore some of the public space works, though most of these works are less serious and more about playfulness. The first which I love because it is such a sanctuary at Ars is the sandpit – this year Spanish artist Clara Boj and Deigo Diaz made on this sand pit what they called Hybrid Playground which basically turns commercial playground toys such as seesaw and twirly round about type playground rides into an interactive video game. The round about bucket for instance lets kids make a plane fly depending on how fast it is going round – thus encouraging kids who have the cute little arm bands with RFID’s and PDA’s in them play in collaborative groups to achieve certain gaols through a physical to virtual cross-over. All the playground toys have sensing devices in them – most probably gyroscopes that wirelessly send data to the PDA’s.
The next public performance I saw was a performance with wearable technology developed at the Art University in Linz by Mika Salomi and Hannah Perner-Wilsons the wearable part is called Perfect Human. Here the suit – depending on the performers movements – plays sound bytes of voices and speaking though a number of portable radios situated round the performer. What is great about this piece is that public audience members can “control” the performance and sound generated by getting the wearer/performer to copy their actions.
Data To Go Capsule – Huaupsplatz – Linz
On the Square in Linz there was the Data To Go (which I will get to in my next entry) and destroying of fake label clothing. I found this to be the only work to speak that linked to the content of the Ars Electronica Symposium A New Cultural Economy. The symposium and the exhibitions were rather disjointed which surprised me but did not disappoint me.
And my favourite non-digital performance piece which received an Award of Distinction under the Hybrid Art category was Yann Marussich and the Blue Remix performance – this work is part of the Cyber Arts show but was performed at the Lentos Art Musuem. It was a very ‘human’ and viceral performance. Marussich ingests a type of blue non toxic dye before the performance – this is done with physicians so please don’t try it at home. During the performance he is rather medically sitting in s glass box which I presume must be warm and getting warmer because of the lights. Over a period of about an hour his bodily fluids (that are now blue) slowly start surfacing. It is completely fascinating and makes you wonder why the human head exudes so much – and also why areas such as, around the eyes and the checks exude almost nothing at all.