This interactive installation by Tokyo-based TeamLab may look user-friendly, with its calm, ambient colours to begin with, from the photos. However, this installation has got a hidden twist – the colours and lights speed up and change dramatically, when someone bumps into or moves one of the many large spheres.
“Tokyo-based teamLab is a group of ultra-technologists including programmers, user-interface engineers, mathematicians, CG animators, as well as architects, designers, artists and editors, who blur the boundaries of their respective fields to create and discover new ideas and push limitations. Presently, their interactive installation Homogenizing and Transforming World is part of the exhibition Distilling Senses: A Journey through Art and Technology in Asian Contemporary Art, at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Individual balls floating within an enclosed space communicate to each other via wireless connection. They change color and emit different sounds when touched by visitors or bump into each other or other objects. The balls send color information to other balls which in turn spread the information to other balls, changing all the balls to the same color. The piece is a metaphor for the internet and globalization in general. People act as intermediaries for information which so quickly travels via the internet globally, transforming the world in an instant and unifying at the same time.”
I thought this interactive installation was clever and surprising. From the photographs, it looks so calm, ambient and peaceful but the video demonstrates the installation in full action – where it twists and changes quite quickly. For me, I found this piece by TeamLab demonstrates the sense of entrapment, whilst your senses are drastically starting to be over-stimulated by your environment. If you are in there on your own, you have more control over your environment and the pace in which the installation moves at; however, if you are amongst a group of many, you have no ability to control or change the way the installation changes and moves.
That essence of having no control is what I want to capture in an interactive installation, for my module in Field. I want to create an environment that nobody has any control over – the installation is timed and nothing anybody does could change it. I have the idea of it starting off very slow, very quiet and dim, and then it builds up dramatically. The idea of that momentum is to take a person’s power over a situation away, thus helping them to empathise and understand someone experiencing sensory overload.