I visited the Digital Revolution Exhibition at the Barbican today (link). The whole thing was massive fun and deeply immersive. I was not so much a viewer here, rather I was a participant in a series of performances.
Indeed I think that immersion is one of the main differences between much of interactive digital performances and what I create. I make visual statements that the viewer sees, reflects and interprets through their own prisms. The artists in the Digital Revolution exhibition have created something very different. They have not designed and executed images or set piece performances that people receive and interpret, rather they have created environments where visitors create their own performances within a set of given technological parameters.
For example, Chris Milk’s The Treachery of Sanctuary, shown above, involved some performance rules that set a framework that the participant can work within to create their own production. As the participant enters the set a staff member advises them to stand near a wire and move in front of the three columns and flap one’s arms. As the participant does so each column offers a different projected effect and transforms the participant’s silhouette.
The exhibition has given me a lot to think about as so much of it was immersive and time limited performance based, rather than static and reflective. I think there is a place for both approaches but have, at least up until now, kept away from creating moving images as they are so fundamentally different from that captured or created in a still frame. I am still fascinated by the still image and want to continue honing my skills in that area.