sound, light, and image – new concepts

As we all know, there are constant technological and creative leaps being taken that impact and add to the palette of materials, techniques and approaches that can be applied to experience planning and design. This week we have run across three examples that have gotten us thinking and brainstorming how they might be applied.


The first is an installation called Contact, created by Felix Faire as a research project at the Interactive Architecture Lab – Bartlett School of Architecture and now on display at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in the exhibition Sensing Spaces.




What Felix has done is create a way to make any hard surface into an interface. Certainly this piece will find its way into more museums but perhaps even more interesting is the idea of using this technique to make any surface a controller. In a museum setting, this might be a graphic panel, a piece of exhibition armature, or a vitrine. What is interesting is thinking about removing the need or ubiquity of the physical “interactive” control or screen.

You can watch a vidoe of how Contact was made here.

The second example is a new lighting system from Codha called Crypsis. Take a look.




Using a system like this would certainly alter significantly the way we may light artifacts and other items in display cases. In fact, this is the first way this system will be tested. In addition, this offers a unique opportunity for museums to have visitors experiment with light and could also be incorporated into physics exhibits or even maker spaces.

The final interesting piece is the mirror fence concept by  Alyson Shotz.




Simple in its execution and an interesting work of art, the concept of the mirror fence seems like it could be useful in any situation where you need to create a separation of space but you don’t want that operation to be detectible from a visitor’s perspective. For us, zoo enclosures came to mind immediately. Where could use imagine using a mirror fence?

We’d love to hear from you about what ideas these examples sparked for you.



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time piece

Sundials are one of the most popular features that museums place outside. They demonstrate astronomical concepts and at times are used to convey anthropological or archeological content as well.  That said, the idea of using shadows to tell time is elegant.

An artist that has taken this to a new level is Conrad Shawcross’ with his new work, Time Piece,  an amazing time installation.






Using the mechanism, lighting, a gnomon which is about thirteen feet high, and the architecture of the London Roundhouse (a steam engine repair shed turned into a cultural venue) the piece is an operating clock.

Not only is this a beautiful piece but the programming the Roundhouse is putting on in conjunction with the piece is compelling as well.

Here is just one artist and their previous performance for another piece:

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance

Sun 11 & Sun 25 Aug, 2pm-5pm / Pay What You Like
Performed interventions from acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor will juxtapose dancers with the installation.

Shawcross’ piece and the Roundhouse points out several things that many institutions might think about. Whether it be sun dials or Foucault pendulums there has always been an interest in presenting the passage of time.

What is clear that imaginative approaches to portraying time will always be fascinating.

Certainly this piece really raises the bar.

In addition, other museums might want to explore the concept of programming around a timepiece. Such programming could allow science museums and similar informal learning environments, which commonly have timepiece devices, to expand how they integrate art/culture content into their offerings. In fact, this simple idea is applicable to many other “signature” pieces – not just time pieces.

What great time pieces have you seen? What kinds of programming have you experienced that expanded on a signature installation? How else does this piece inspire you?



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