Århus by Light (by Ida and Line)

February and March 2008 the facade of Concert Hall Århus was changed into an interactive media facade. This was done as an experiment, trying to create life to architectural surfaces.
By putting up screens behind the windows on the facade, it was possible to project images on the facade. The images that were shown were of Århus skyline, showing the most of the well known landmarks of Århus. Running at the same time on the screen was some small monsters or creatures that ran around on the screen. In the beginning these creatures could not do more than move around on the screen, but that later changed, why that was changed we will come back to later.
Another function on the facade was interaction from the audience. In the park in front of the concert hall there were three zones, marked with three different colours (pink, blue and yellow). These zones were filmed by cameras and when you entered a zone, you image was projected onto the facade with the creatures. Now here is why the creatures was changed. In the beginning the creatures moved around at random. But in an interview, a small girl had said that she found it funny that she could push the creatures so they fell. What she had experienced was coincidence, but the inventors thought that the idea of interacting with the creatures was great, so they changed the programming of the creatures, so that it was in fact possible to push the creatures.
This piece of installation art reflects on the topics, which we have discussed in class about Hybrid space/reality. Adriana de Souza e Silva defines hybrid space/reality as something that is: “blurring the borders between digital and physical spaces” So, a hybrid space/reality occurs where “the real world” and “the digital world” meet. This is exactly, what the installation shows, especially after the inventors made it possible, for the participants to push the creatures and thereby fully interact with the installation.

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Lev Manovich would probably call the installation “a sensor network” or “ an intelligent space”. These terms describe a space, where people’s actions are monitored by sensors. In reality this is usually used, when there is a need to monitor a public space, for instance for safety reasons. But in this case it is used to create awareness about Concert Hall Århus, and maybe make people feel less intimidated by the fine culture/art it represents. We believe, that the installation is a kind of brandscaping. This term is invented by Otto Riewoldt and it means that in order to promote a certain brand the company creates a unique space. Which is exactly what Concert Hall Århus was doing.

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