Digital Revolution at the Barbican

Digital Revolution
-An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames

Date: 17 August 2014
Time: 14:30 – 17:00
Location: Barbican Centre, London

Introduction:

This immersive and interactive exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers, all pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media. It also looks at the dynamic developments in the areas of creative coding and DIY culture and the exciting creative possibilities offered by augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearable technologies and 3-D printing.

Highlights during the visit:

The first was this series of digital, interactions with birds. You stood in front of a massive screen that showed your shadow with shadow birds flying above you. When you put up your hands, the birds responded. On the first screen, your shadow dissolved into birds. On the second, the birds swooped down and ate you and on the third, you sprouted gigantic wings. I got the feeling that people just withstood the first two to get to the wings part but one thing that I really liked was that people watched the others interact with the screens. At one point, a little girl got her bird to fly and people cheered her on and gave her suggestions of how hard or easy to flap her arms to make it happen.

3 17-barbican-digital-revolution

In the final part, visitors went into a dark room filled with smoke and there were lasers that projected on the floor. And all the lasers responded to touch. So if you tapped a laser, it would move. If you pointed at the ceiling, another laser would appear. If you dragged your finger across the laser, it would draw. If you held both hands with another person, a laser would sprout between you. And there were bubbles. It was pretty spectacular. There were maybe 20 people in this dark room interacting with you and the lasers so naturally play happened, it was unique and playful.

Indications for Research:

The distinction between creativity and digital creativity is an increasingly arbitrary one, given the almost utter ubiquity of our connected existence. From the outset, Digital Revolution’s curatorial team acknowledge that the virtual realm has been well-travelled in the past – the Barbican’s own Serious Games in 1997 and 2002’s Game On attempted to bring the imagery and influence of bits and bytes to a wider audience. But Digital Revolution’s point of difference is that it’s not just about the arts in isolation or the gaming industry, but about the way digital culture permeates every single aspect of modern creative culture, from fashion to pop to art to apps.

The exhibition also marks a key waypoint in the rapid explosion of digital creativity. We now have a culture that dreams up billion dollar apps, new means of interacting, entertaining, tracking and tracing our paths through life, together with an emerging generation that has never known a world without the internet, email and SMS. They can take every evolution or revolution in their stride.

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