I hadn't been to the Barbican before, and this exhibition was hailed as this amazing immersive experience that documents the rise of digital creativity across the arts. Sounds fancy, but really got me going was that I heard there was a laser light field and a display that would track your movements and give your shadow WINGS. So, we went, a whole bunch of us. (This post has been long overdue... it's October now and we went mid August? Whoops!) The intro was pretty cohesive and familiar - essentially the history of the digital era. It was hilarious to look back and see super old technology from our childhoods (things like floppy disks, old cube style apple Macintoshes that we used to have in primary school, the first gameboy. An old Nokia with snake on it... you get the idea) and pretty interesting to see how far we'd come. However once we were through that, the next section was by FAR the more interesting - it had all of the interactive stuff. And by interactive, I mean you interact with your BODY. It was fantastic!
Some of it was creepy - a 3D head that followed you wherever you went. There was a handful of hanging down... I don't know what you'd call them. Arms? And when you walked into range two or three of them would activate and 'fix' on you... or look at you? It felt very sci-fi, and when I walked past the first time I got such a fright!
The rest of the exhibits seemed a bit more playful. Dangling headphones, each one with a different sound corresponding to a different screen. A room of smoke and lasers that moved if you touched them (which meant you could 'chase' and play with them - well cool). There were a few simulations that recorded you and altered it somehow... one gave us smoke for eyes. Another 'drew' us, the best one (and the one I'd most anticipated) was where our silohettes were given wings. Whenever you held your arms out there was a sound effect that sounded like the unfurling of wings, and as you 'flapped' there was a big 'whoooosh'. It was epically well done, and had there not been a long queue and a time limit I easily could have spent a long time flapping my wings. There were other dancing ones too, that super-imposed a cartoon man on a screen in front of you that danced when you moved. It was pretty great.
(I'm red pants, white shirt, with half my face missing because it wasn't sure how to draw the camera :)
I'm glad we went, it was a lot of fun. It's not often that you're encouraged outside somewhere like a rave or a dance floor to wave your arms in the air or be a bit silly. It was a very easy way to spend an afternoon. :)