Detours & Destinations

You can do a lot with interactive digital technology nowadays. The real challenge is to make the interactions meaningful.

For the Detours & Destinations project we worked with Shopfront and young artists over a 3-month period to create interactive elements for an immersive media arts showcase. In the 3 day showcase at the Sydney Opera House we wanted to engage people through a variety of interfaces.

We led the team to create multi-channel video displays controlled via a pressure-sensitive glow-in-the-dark dancefloor, SMS, Twitter & game controls which triggered visual displays of the artwork and text. The audience were invited to play with sound, light and screen while interacting with the real-life stories of 10-15 year olds from Campbelltown & Blacktown.

For example, incoming SMS and Twitter messages were not only displayed onscreen in the Sydney Opera House Studio, they were also interpreted as instructions. Each message was checked against a list of ‘control’ keywords that could trigger different actions. Different combinations of keywords resulted in a different sequence of actions. Think of it as a very simple form of programming.

Miimali Game Stars in the house. We like!” contained the keywords “house” and “we” and triggered different animations (as shown in the image above).

Another example, “red green blue crossroads” were all keywords. This sequence caused the onscreen colour to change three times and then an animation played.

There was also a little iPhone app built so that we could manage the installation and quickly add new controls in situ based on what’s going down.

Supported by the New South Wales Government, Detours & Destinations was the first of Sydney Opera House's ongoing arts education and community engagement initiatives. In partnership with Shopfront and Heaps Decent, the program connected at-risk youth with mentors from creative industries.

Their voices. Their stories.

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Project Credits

Artist / Media architect: Michela Ledwidge