Interactive art is an art that involves the viewer in such a manner that the art can fulfill its aim. This is achieved by allowing the observer to wander around and inside some interactive art installations; others ask the performer or visitors to be part of the art. Interactive art installations are usually computer-based and often depend on sensors that measure things like temperature, movement, proximity, and other meteorological phenomena programmed to generate reactions based on the actions of participants. The viewer, as well as the machine, work together in interactive artworks to make a unique work of art. 

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Interactive art is a creative means of activating a physical space using technology, sound, and light. As a result, it makes people active participants from passive viewers. There can be a wide range of ways individuals engage with interactive art: starting a 3-dimensional or digital system, participating through the Internet, making a sound or making a movement. The artwork, therefore, reflects the viewer. Thus, only by the participation of the viewer, the work obtains its form and significance.

Here are a few examples of Interactive Art in architectural spaces where art and design meet technology:

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1. Chairs

The installation was created by a Colombian artist named Doris Salcedo. Chairs are installed in a compact space between two buildings in Istanbul, made up of 1600 antique chairs. The installation was to be positioned in public spaces and covered significantly. The objective was to create something which she described as a “war topography”. It also makes clear by saying that the installation was intended not to symbolize a historical event, but to represent conflict in general.

Chairs are simple to build in concept but have a dramatic impact. It is related to a particular historical occurrence that calls to mind the masses of nameless migrants who support the worldwide economy. The piece shows the voiceless and marginalized lives of the isolated. The difference between the powerful and the helpless is particularly important for Salcedo. She says, “To give form is an act of power. There is no art more involved with power than architecture because nothing says as clearly as a building that ‘I had the power to build this.’  

Salcedo emphasizes emptiness and personal connection by using chairs as a basic material of sculpture. It is not only visually spectacular to bring all 1600 chairs together but also to provide an individual and collective experience. But the artwork’s perception is still left to the viewer’s interpretation. For example, in what is usually a human space the seats are stacked together.

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Chairs _© mcachicago.org

The chairs are also stacked up between two buildings, which climb up to both sides of the buildings, usually architectural space. Normally the chairs occupy a room for individuals. In a certain way, the roles are reversed. The chairs that normally accommodate people suddenly occupy space that people usually occupy. This perspective indicates that both the volume and the meaning of space are significant. 

The form of color is another interpretation. When you look closely, it is impossible to discern the purple and yellow color pigment, which is brown when blended. Emotional aspects are also present. Intellectual intrigue is evoked by the chairs. The observer can wonder how the entire project was achieved and how all 1600 seats are properly arranged together. The chairs convey ideas of connection and community, in particular, how all chairs create a society of a kind and fit together in a single place. 

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Chairs_ ©mcachicago.org

Chairs have many distinct theories and perceptions that make the huge structure even more remarkable.

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2. Paris Pigalle Duperré 

The Pigalle basketball court is nestled among a couple of Paris housing developments, where sports meet art. Designed by Ill Studio, a French design company, with Stéphane Ashpool, it has had a total of five redesigns since its debut work on paintwork in 2009 – the latest of which was unveiled in 2020. The intent was to add a fresh and unique aesthetic to the spice. The basketball court’s walls and floors are covered with the saturated, silky tones of a sun-setting grid of grape-colored variations, stroking sunflowers, and powerful blue colors.

Sport has dominated the aesthetics of a period since the legacy of Greek and Roman Civilization. This constant search for modernism has over the decades established a strong link between functionality and aesthetics. This unique court is a strong indicator of a time when we are looking at the relationship between sport, art, and culture and how this emerges as a socio-cultural marker. We aspire for visual connections throughout modernism’s past, present, and future. 

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Pigalle Basketball Court ©sebastien michelini

The surface of the rubber court transitions from fuchsia to blue. The enclosing walls enclose the space in seamless and sparkly variations inspired by a sky at sunset, with its geometric shapes. Even the backboards have fluorescent shades, made of translucent plastic. The exterior wall has been lowered and substituted by a blue mesh so that people could see inside. The design continues to be one of the most iconic courts and Pigalle Duperré has been placed on the map.

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Pigalle Basketball Court ©Culture Trip

3. The Mirage Sculpture

American artist Doug Aitken created in the wilderness outside Palm Springs a modest house-shaped structure, clad upside down in mirrors. The sculpture of Mirage has been modeled on a suburban house on a ranch. The structure, however, consists of mirrored surfaces that reflect and camouflage the environment. 

By considering the architectural elements of the work, Aitken drew from the iconic typology of the ranch and the rich history of the region, he gathered stylistic evidence from the very important role played by Frank Lloyd Wright in the formation of the American West. For the Desert X event, the artists set up the installation, for which 16 works of art have been put in the dry Coachella Valley terrain. 

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Mirage © Lance Gerber

The ‘mirage’ of Aitken acts as a kaleidoscope of life that reflects the huge, dry scenery. The reflecting installation, framing, and distorting its environment, varies all day long, creating a spectrum of new experiences. In the afternoon, blue skies turn into fragments of color that are intersecting with parts of clouds and present spectators with a distinct involvement and feel toward space — at nightfall distant light bounces off the facade and forms a galaxy of stars.

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Mirage © Lance Gerber
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Mirage © Lance Gerber

The structure is redesigned as an architectural concept in which a presumably conventional suburban house is deprived of its occupants. “Mirage” responds to the surrounding desert landscape, with its doors, windows, and openings removed so that the environment is more flowing.

4. Support 

The Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn’s new gigantic sculpture was on display at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel in Venice during the 2017 Venice Biennale, until November 26. The idea was to make a statement about the effects of global warming using huge sculptures. Quinn, known for his sculptures to incorporate human parts – particularly hands – uses the giant limbs as a natural force that ties the canal-side structure and both reinforces it against collapse and suggests a natural force that might equally demolish it. 

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Support © halcyon gallery

With the creative and destructive aspects of human nature on both sides and the ability for human beings to act and impact history and the environment, Quinn discusses the ability of people to bring about change and re-equilibrium around the world—environmentally, economically, and socially. The hands reflect tools that can both demolish, but also save the planet. The sculpture has both an unsettling and noble air, but both tend to hold the building up while evoking a feeling of panic to underline the fragility of the structure surrounded by water and the tide of sinking.

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Installation process © halcyon gallery
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Installation process © halcyon gallery

The hands were created in a studio off-site and were a practical concern. Loaded on the canal boat, the pieces were brought down to the site through the Grand Canal and lifted and dropped there. The hands highlight the role that humans must play in enhancing Venice’s unique world heritage – it is the duty to save ‘evidence of the past.’ The past survives in the present and lives in the future memories of future generations.

“I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body. The hands hold so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy,” says Lorenzo Quinn.

5. Snake – The Matter of Time

For his complex and imaginative work, Richard Serra was praised for many years. Serra helped modify the nature of artistic production as a rising artist in the early 1960s. He moved to uncommon, industrial materials and stressed the physical characteristics of his work along with other minimalist artists of his period.

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Matter of Time ©Richard Serra

The spectator may perceive the development of the sculptural shapes of the artist, from the simplicity of a double ellipse to the complexity of a spiral. The final two elements of this sculpture are made of sections of toruses and spheres that induce various effects on the observer’s movement and perception. These are transformed unexpectedly as the observer moves around and through them and creates an unforgettable, dizzying sense of motion in space.

Snake consists of three massive, twisted ribbons of hot-rolled steel which have been permanently placed in the museum’s largest gallery for the opening of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. The two curvings, tilted passageways capture a distinct feeling of movement and instability. The progression of time is also here. The time it takes to walk and see. The matter of time between the beginning and the finish of the visit is chronological. And there is the experiential time that stays, recombines and recreates, traces of visual and tactile memory.

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Matter of Time ©Richard Serra

6. Liquid Shard

Liquid Shard is a giant sculpture composed of holographic mylar and monofilament set in downtown Los Angeles across Pershing Square. It is 15,000 sq.ft in size. The element consists of two layers that rise to 115 feet in the air from 15 feet off the ground. This sculpture was developed as the central square for downtown L.A., a place to look up from the ground perspective and the neighboring offices. 

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This project allows people to pause and slowly follow the wind, like watching the slow and fantastic movements of clouds or sea flora, gently undulating and altering the artwork.

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Liquid Shard ©NOW Art
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Liquid Shard ©NOW Art
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Liquid Shard ©NOW Art

The team was able to produce a “timeless design that changes with the community” by using public art as a method to investigate the material, space and encourage interactions. The reactions were largely positive because the rhythm of that artwork in contrast to the hectic and lively city center gives the urban atmosphere something distinctive and positive.

7. From Here Right Now

In the station architecture were combined TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES showing ordinary items (such as a ladder, clock, umbrella) and simple geometric forms. At first, each image was hand-drawn, then projected across the walls and ceilings of a station 3D computer model, and finally translated to the walls using porcelain jet-cut and terrazzo floors. This formed an extraordinarily large and oddly aligned set of images that spread across corners or the floor. 

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Stairs © Panya Clark Espinal

The visual distortion, known as anamorphosis, changes with the viewers’ movements: when viewed from a front, the image becomes distorted but resumes normal proportions when viewed from one side or an angle. The visuals change from abstract to spatially floating forms that give the illusion of a sculptural form. 

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Stopwatch © Panya Clark Espinal

This collection of artworks aims at increasing our awareness of mobility and traveling through everyday spaces, especially in these times of transition, while allowing us to interact playfully.

8. Mind Your Step

The ‘Mind Your Step,’ an incredible illusion by street artist Erik Johansson, has transformed the Stockholm Sergels torg into a joyful and interactive artwork that tricks the eye into seeing from a specific point of view a three-dimensional hole in the ground. 

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Mind your Step © Erik Johansson
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Mind your Step © Erik Johansson

The illusion is close to that of 3D street performers who work in public except that this was constructed off-site and assembled based on enormous printed sheets. Johansson offered a yellow platform reading Mind Your Step, which would allow the observer to witness from the point of view of the illusion.

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Mind your Step_ © Erik Johansson

“I’ve always been quite fascinated by perspective illusions in my images and some time ago I got an idea of trying to realize one in a public space somewhere. My idea was to put a photo in an environment and trick people that it would have depth,” says Johansson.

9. Yard

Allan Kaprow (1927–2006) made YARD in 1961 as part of a group display Environments, Situations, Spaces, in the sculpture garden outside the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. 

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Yard © Gabriel Szabo / Guzelian
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Yard © Gabriel Szabo / Guzelian

Hundreds of car tires flooded the space by Kaprow. Unlike a special order, Kaprow invited visitors to walk, climb, rearrange and interact. In this iconic piece, the audience interacts with the recreation of a junkyard. This composition featured a significant play aspect, although Kaprow had prefixed within the borders. The work depicts the expansion of sculpture in scale and the ever more blurred limits between the ‘life like’ and the ‘art like’ art. There was no separation between the visitor and the artwork in Kaprow’s determination; the spectator took part in the piece.

10. The Beach

Brooklyn’s Snarkitecture Studio turned the National Building Museum’s Grand Hall in Washington, DC into a “beach” with a sea of translucent balls and a shoreline filled with chairs and umbrellas. In the museum’s Great Hall, which stands at 159 meters, a new, interactive artwork named Beach has 8 gigantic Corinthian columns.  

The designers built a 10,000-foot (929-q-mile) enclosure, consisting of scaffolding, wooden panels, and perforated mesh, inside this large expanse, and then filled it with almost a million clear, recyclable balls.

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The Beach © Noah Kalina
The Beach © Noah Kalina

It is an interactive art installation that recreates known natural and cultural components of a day on the beach and provides visitors of all ages with an exciting and remarkable experience. Before entering an entire white enclosure, visitors go up a ramp, where the floor lowers to the centerpiece.

“There is art and architecture in the environment, emphasizing the transition of the ordinary into the exceptional.” “It allows us to rethink our assumptions of the built environment and discover where pushing the boundaries can take us,” states the design team.

References

Designboom.com

Dezeen.com

Snarkitecture.com

Theculturist.com

Author

- A young architect and a firm believer in the potential of architecture, sustainability, research, and design thinking to significantly improve society and have a positive influence on the environment. A highly efficient and enthusiastic individual who is inspired by the meaning of architecture and its innovative effectiveness to translate thinking approaches into the built environment.

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