Digital artists, developers, scientists and designers from around the world congregated in Birmingham to turn their visions of future digital technologies into a reality. The challenge: they only had two weeks to make their sketchy ideas into full-working prototypes that would then be exhibited to the public. Ember was approached by one of the partners in the project, Birmingham City University, to follow the event as it unfolded.
The Interactivos? model originates from Madrid's MediaLab Prado, and is a hybrid of a production workshop, seminar and exhibition showcase. The project calls for ideas from all around the world with the aim to "explore creative uses for innovative new technologies... under the theme [of] responsive and immersive future technologies." An added twist is that the public are allowed to enter the process at any time - leading to some interesting collaborations and partnerships.
Forgot Your Password, by Divya Kasturi
There were certainly some intriguing ideas. Anaisa Franco, a new media artist working in Berlin, developed a sculpture that lights up to match the beating heart of whoever touches it. Alberto Rivero and his team turned the Cloud into a physical installation that rains down data on whoever stands beneath it. Elsewhere, Javier Cruz turned the human body into a digital instrument that triggers different sounds when moving parts of your body.
Heart Dialogue, by Anaisa Franco
We've been lucky enough to work on several projects recently that explore different ways of using technology. Whether it's to help businesses grow, to enable staff in early years education or for financial planners to work more efficiently, ideas for using new technologies in everyday life are happening at an ever faster rate.
Although it's not always easy to see exactly how technologies and exercises such as these can be practically applied, projects like Interactivos? give artists, universities and the public an opportunity and the freedom to collaborate in a way that perhaps wouldn't happen otherwise. And as the writer John Steinbeck wrote, celebrating the freedom of the mind "to take any direction it wishes, undirected" is certainly worth our time and effort.
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