November 2013

new real time data

One of the areas that we believe artist and exhibit designers will continue to explore is the world of using real-time data to provide an understating or awareness of our world today – right now! We previously looked at some earlier examples here in this blog, here. Recently, we’ve run across some new examples to enjoy and consider. The first is by Alexander Chen.



Here is video from the site:



This experience turns the New York Subway map into a musical instrument which varies depending on when you launch the website because it takes data directly from current subway movements.

The second example is the web site , designed by



We believe that the fascination with understanding the current state of the world, whether it be straightforward or through an artistic expression such as music, relates to a key aspect that museums often struggle with:

How to make a visitor’s next visit truly different from the last time they visited.

One way to respond to this challenge is to explore how to celebrate and present, in both engaging and three-dimensional ways, the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is this very second on the timeline.

What interesting examples of real-time data have you seen? What would you like to see?! Share your ideas here.

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Eerie “Life”

In the museum field, the world of science centers and those of zoos, aquariums and in part natural history museums have crossed content areas in a variety ways – but rarely in the robotic world. Ok, perhaps in the area of animatronic dinosaurs, but not truly in the “robotic” world.

With The Petting Zoo, by the Minimaforms studio, this could change.





Using Kinect (yet another exciting use of this technology) and data scanning, these “life forms” react and change their behaviors as people interact with structures, changing according to the number of people and their apparent interest in the “creatures.” More details about the project can be found on the Minimaform web site.

While this simulation of a living creature might be seen to easily fit into the context of the science center, here at ALCHEMY studio, we are taken with the idea of how an installation like this or other robotic simulations could be used by zoos and aquariums.

Imagine a zoo or aquarium using interactions like these along with its live collection to discuss the characteristics of living things and how humans are exploring creating artificial life.

As our created world blends increasingly with the natural world, there will be other opportunities for institutions to cross boundaries in what they invite visitors to explore through public programming.

In fact, it might even be possible with a similar project to model behavior you are seeing from the live collection – allowing for visitors to experiment with and test aspects of animal behavior.

What have you seen that matches this idea? How might you imagine using robotic life to support new and interesting experiences?

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