Wrap-up | Friday Night Laneways Organic Data
Brisbane City Council’s Friday Night Laneways event Organic Data for the World Science Festival Brisbane presented Fish Lane as an electronic canvas illuminated with light and sound. Curated and produced by Engage Arts, we invited four creatives working with art, music, technology and science to create an interactive audience experience.
With the World Science Festival hub just across the road from Fish Lane, curious visitors came to check out Organic Data. On Grey Street, a projection mapped artwork washed over the colonial façade of the building. This work depicted an animated underwater world, and was specifically created for the event by Indigenous creative agency Gilimbaa.
Brisbane City Council’s Vibrant Laneways illuminated lightboxes presented the work of New York sci-artist Suzanne Anker. Anker’s work Vanitas shows mysterious substances floating in petri dishes, fusing Anker’s artfully constructed images with scientific materials and processes.
On entering the laneway visitors were immersed in the ambient electronic sounds of Craig Parry (DJ Puzhaki). For Organic Data, Parry created an interactive audio-visual set mixing original and locally sampled electronic music with digital images. Occurring in real-time, the audience used Wii-motes to feed into the data set, triggering a variety of visual effects. The Wii-motes were especially popular with children, who intuitively picked up the controllers and began altering the work.
The railway bridge overpass in Fish Lane provided the site for digital artist Alinta Krauth’s work, an interactive projection-mapping, If the forest wanders. Two projectors were used to blend animated images onto the underside of the railway overpass, which depicted a luminous train track with bio-luminescent creatures roaming around them. The audience’s response to this work was overwhelming; people stopped, sat, and even lay down to experience the sense of wonder created by the animation. With the complexity both of this works technical execution and the environmental message obscured, Krauth explored the use of projection, interaction and animation to physically connect the audience to the works elements. Krauth’s art practice continues to provide a subtle but significant reminder of the importance of science and technology and the key role it has to play in conservation.
Entering the lane from Hope Street, four large windows of the streetscape were devoted to the art and technical wizardry of VJ Lightrift, Mark Wells. Well’s used four projectors each mapped to the buildings surface to create a ‘light portrait’ zone. These portraits were an opportunity for visitors to stand in front of the moving projections and become part of the canvas – bathed in colourful light and moving patterns that made a unique photographic opportunity. Visitors could join the creation of the ‘Organic Data’ feed by sharing their ‘portraits’ on social media.
A roving element of playfulness was added by hypermedia artist and digital poet Jason Nelson. Nelson came dressed as a tourist who appeared to be out for a casual stroll with his backpack. Despite his relaxed appearance, strange creatures seemed to be following him! Nelson’s mysterious animated digital creatures were secretly projected from the tiny projector hidden inside his backpack. He become something of a Pied Piper as followers danced and stomped on these digital oddities, delighted and amazed at where they were coming from.
This Friday Night Laneways event showcased the nexus of art and science through interactive performance and technologies. In harnessing curiosity and wonder, the works were able to both demonstrate and invite participation. Each visitor contributed to the data flow – adding to the mass of bits and bytes that surround us.
Engage Arts would like to thank Brisbane City Council, the Artists, Brisbane Concert Lighting (BCL), Shortstack Productions, Monotron photography, Solitaire Creative, volunteers and Fish Lane businesses and visitors who contributed in making the night a great success!
Feature Image: Alinta Kruath, If the forest wanders, 2016. Installation view interactive projection detail.
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