Today marks the final day of the Decode exhibition at the V&A Museum in London. Decode showcases modern day digital and interactive design, from small, screen-based, graphics to large-scale interactive installations.
The exhibition looks at three current themes within digital design:
Code shows how computer code, whether bespoke and tailored, or hacked and shared, has become a new design tool
Interactivity presents works that respond to our physical presence
Network charts or reworks the traces we leave behind.
The exhibition itself has been greeted with mixed reviews. Whilst some think it is a modern day digital playground, others have labelled it nothing more than a slightly more engaging version of content that you can find on the web in your own home, Code being a perfect example.
Considering the minimal entrance fee though, the exhibition was worth going to purely for the few interactive installations themselves. My two favourite works were Videogrid by Ross Phillips and Body Paint by Mehmet Akten.
Videogrid by Ross Phillips is a playful interactive wall of screens linked to a forward viewing video camera. Users simply stand in front of the camera, select which screen they wish to record over, and then perform their 10 seconds of content. Some people simply just record themselves standing in front of it, but as each person spends more time exploring the endless possibilities for creative interaction, more amusing scenes start to appear on the screen as separate videos start interacting with each other. As Will Poskett at Wunderman very adeptly put it, “its only limit is the imagination of the observer.”
Here’s our effort:
Body Paint by Mehmet Akten is an installation which allows users to paint on a virtual canvas with their body, interpreting gestures and dance into evolving compositions. Custom software analyses, in real-time, a feed from infra-red cameras and converts shape and motion into splashes and brush-strokes of colour.
The interaction is simple – movement creates paint. Hidden in the simplicity, are subtle layers of detail; different speeds, size and types of motion create different outputs. The audience is left to discover these details by playing with the installation. While the installation is suitable for a single person, with multiple a new dynamic emerges. User-to-user interaction is born; the audience start playing with each other through the installation.
The piece is a brilliant example of digital interaction; it’s both accessible (through its simplicity) and engaging (through its colourful reward). All it needs is a Sony logo and the “Colour. Like no other” tagline; an interactive ad waiting to be deployed.