Wishing Well

Everdien Breken Berlijn 10 151010

I was on my way home when I met with the coolest game….. way too early in the morning, for such are the joys of travelling.

At a very busy spot at Berlin Hauptbahnhof a LED floor interacted real time with people’s movements, creating patterns that invited play. I was stunned by its simpleness and fun, and awed by the technology behind it. Check it out at the makers website: Phase7. Moving arts plus technology are their forte.

First impression was that the floor was pressure-operated. Not so: it works on infrared tracking plus a hell of a fast program to light up the LEDS in patterns around the infrared source: humans. This made for playful interaction between human and system, interesting to watch who’d play and who would not. Again: kids the best players.

Looking around, I  noticed a sound box. Closer inspection revealed sound patterns to go with the light patterns – but the trains made so much noise that this feature didn’t shine.

The Berlinische Galerie promised an overview of modern art in Germany – and lived up to this promise. First floor walks you through painting and sculpture in Germany as from the 1900 and a little earlier.
All major ‘isms present: impressionism, pointillism, cubism, and so on, german variety. Neatly catalogued, few surprises, a bit boring. There was a Kokoschka that leapt out of its frame, though.
Ground floor hosted a number of attempt to make art based on internet technology. Two of the three projects were inaccessible because of computer failure. Third was an embellishment of Google Maps – not really very interesting. So far, no points scored for the new(est) technology. It should come into its own though – lots of possibilities.
Best part of the museum was situated outside: an inflatable structure that kids just loved playing on. Don’t know if it was art – but it was fun! Tempted to use my crayons on the letters that form a work on the pavement just outside the museum – but had neither crayons nor nerve.

Later: Checked the thing just now on the ‘net. The floor was designed as an interactive installation for the European Capital of Culture 2008: Stavanger. Called  Önskelbronn, it references a wishing well, and in its original incarnation it was arrounded by a stone garden.

Quote:  “The atmosphere gives a chance to concentrate and heighten the sense of perception for the entrance into the virtual environment. Visitors enter a place where they can focus on themselves and on their wishes and dreams….  The passengers themselves became the performance. Their moving paths were followed, retracing their movements as reprocessed projections directly on the floor. Floating images and keywords inspired the user to start reflecting on their own wishes. Sound was triggered by the movement of interacting visitors. As soon as they stepped onto the LED platform, they initialise vibrating loop patterns, which were imbedded in a specially created composition b y a contemporary composer.”

Everdien Breken Berlijn 07 151010

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