Decode: Digital Design Sensations
In partnership with SAP
8 December 2009 – 11 April 2010
Free to V&A Members. For information on how to become a member visit our Membership pages.
Digitally growing plants and a mechanical eye that mirrors the blink of a visitor’s gaze will be among the digital works that will feature in Decode: Digital Design Sensations. The exhibition will show the latest developments in digital and interactive design, from small screen based graphics to large-scale installations. Curated in collaboration with leading digital arts organisation onedotzero, there will be works by established international artists and designers including Daniel Brown, Golan Levin and Daniel Rozin as well as emerging designers such as Troika and Simon Heijdens.
The exhibition will be centred in the Porter Gallery with a series of interventions throughout the Museum and garden as well as a number of specially commissioned one-off performances. For the first time, the V&A is also commissioning a digital work for its website and will provide remote access to some of the works on display.
The exhibition will explore three themes. Code as a Raw Material will present pieces that use computer code to create new designs in the same way a sculptor works with materials such as clay or wood. This section will look at how code can be programmed to create constantly fluid and ever changing objects. On display will be a new piece by Daniel Brown from his On Growth and Form series, inspired by the V&A’s collection. Brown uses advanced mathematics to generate organic depictions of imaginary plants that continuously grow, producing new buds, blossoms and stalks. As soft, organic digital images, these generative flowers will continue to develop and grow over the course of the exhibition.
The second theme, Interactivity, will look at designs where the viewer directly influences the work. Visitors will be invited to interact with and contribute to the development of the works, many of which show designers playing with the boundaries of design and performance. One object will be Golan Levin’s Opto-Isolator, a human-sized mechanical eye which follows the gaze of the viewer, blinking one second after its visitor blinks. Weave Mirror by Daniel Rozin is a responsive sculpture that recreates an image of the viewer on its 768 motorized planes. A smoky portrait comes into focus as the planes rotate into place.
The final theme, The Network, will focus on works that comment on and utilise the digital traces left behind by everyday communications, from blogs in social media communities to mobile communications or satellite tracked GPS systems. This section explores how advanced technologies and the internet have enabled new types of social interaction and media for self expression. Designers reinterpret this information to create works that translate data into striking forms. These range from live, real-time visualisations of flight patterns by Aaron Koblin to a data mining project by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar. Their project We Feel Fine extracts comments by bloggers from all over the world on how they are feeling and represents the information as colourful, floating spheres. Users can filter the information by selecting an emotion as well as bloggers’ gender, age and the city and weather conditions where he or she is based to reveal anonymous, often highly personal, statements about modern life today.