Liz Faber floats around at Serious Games while Patrick Burgoyne listens to Jeanloup Sieff talk about bottoms, plus the latest books

Games that people play

The Serious Games Exhibition demands a great deal of its audience. Visitors to the show, being held this summer at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, are each encouraged to collaborate, choose, challenge and communicate – both with each other the work.

The exhibition of eight interactive works is not only proof of the growing acceptance of technology-based art but illustrates how much fun it can be and how diverse and advanced it is becoming. When art meets technology it is loud, bold and demands a reaction from the viewer.

Take, for example, Toshio lwai’s Resonance of 4, a music-based installation. The enjoyment of the work depends on how well four participants cooperate with each other. There are four workstations in the room projecting four grids on the floor. Each station has a musical tone which directs bass, rhythm and melody. By clicking a mouse, visitors can add to the number and pattern of small coloured squares on their grid and hear the corresponding musical sounds change. The actions of the individual effect the overall music produced from the four stations.

The highlight of the show is undoubtedly Char Davies' Osmose – an immersive virtual reality installation. lasting a full 15 minutes. Viewed through a headset the user must navigate the ambient environments using an interface vest: there are sensors inside it which react to movement. Breath in to fly up, out to go down. A warning – look down while breathing in and you will experience gut-churning vertigo. To travel forward and back simply lean in the appropriate direction Other visitors can witness a real-time projection of what the user is seeing and hearing on their voyage, while a screen reflecting the user's silhouette depicts their movement. The head set and the vest serve to create an eerie, alien image

in contrast Ritsuko Taho's piece Zeromorphosis: Swans and Pigeons has an earthy calm. This piece requires the audience to actually form the artwork and get their hands dirty. Visitors are given a square of aluminium foil into which they must place a wish written on a piece of carbon paper, the other copy is stuck on the wall Earth, water, shredded money and grass seeds are added to the tin foil which is then wrapped up. Gallery staff will tend your grass ball while it sprouts and then put it out with the others.

Amid all the multimedia gadgetry, Taho’s exhibit is an exercise in pure interactivity without even a hint of technology.

Osmose must be pre-booked, cal (0171) 638 8891 for details.


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Last verified: Jun 17th, 2017