A few days ago I went down to the University of Brighton, with Scott (he's a digital music and sound art student there) to see some work by artist, Peter Vogel that was being exhibited.
Even though it's a small show it is one of the best I have seen in soooo long. I'm incredibly interested in art you can interact with, things that merge art and design allowing you to sit on, participate, play with or get involved with the pieces themselves. That's not to play down any other kinds of art, obviously as a viewer you are also 'interacting' with a something like a painting just by viewing it, but this exhibition in particular show's how you can physically get involved.
Most of the pieces work by reacting to your movement or sound. Therefore if I ran my hand through the air past one of the pieces, sounds would play, and the move I moved my hand, the more notes came out, finally making songs that are individual to each person, depending on how they're moving. Others required you to speak, shout or clap to make lights flash, music play or fans to start swirling around. My explanation of it comes no where to near to how fun it is to actually stand there waving your hands around, trying to work things out, clapping and peering at the work till you get the desired result.
The best piece there was the one in the image above where you can see my hand (and also a larger photo of it above that) where you had to sit down on a small plinth and could play all the instruments by touching the buttons in front of you. Every button you touch, makes a different instrument move so you can make your own songs. They aren't conventional sounds like a key board, but more weird clangs, high pitched squeals and low drums. The nicest thing about it, is that you can see each instrument move to make the noise and as the work is lit up, the shadows behind move simultaneously. If you're in or around Brighton, I'd definitely recommend taking a look. if this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will!
Photos by Scott Hitchcock