“But first, let me take a selfie.” These words from the viral #Selfie song characterise our current trigger-happy iGeneration and are satirised by Facey Thing.
Facey Thing is a tongue in cheek interactive art installation that contemplates the seemingly innocuous selfie culture and its potential surveillance hazards. The installation is a large screen that displays real time footage from a black surveillance camera on the right. It is intentionally set up in an area with heavy footfall, meaning that even if you choose not to actively interact with the installation, you are still forced to walk by it and engage with it passively as you will be displayed on the screen. This underscores that even if one does not personally take part in the selfie culture, total avoidance of it is largely impossible.
The installation tracks the faces on participants close to the screen. Once the face is engaged long enough, it will be recognised and blow up to ten times the original size. This mocks the inane logic found in spy movies of “zoom in and enhance the image!”. Every time the participant moves, the blown up face will be captured frame by frame. Eventually, it will turn into shades of blue, green and purple and float up to the top of screen and out in various pixelated strips.
Facey Thing is a fun installation that gets polarising reactions from passersby; some enjoyed seeing their faces enlarged on the screen while others intentionally shielded their faces from the camera as they passed by. As aforementioned, this installation contemplates the potential hazards of the selfie culture. Sharing photos and personal information have become such a norm in our society that the dangers of such a practice is often forgotten and overlooked. Selfies (and the information revealed in its accompanying captions) can be used as tools of surveillance and oppression, a theme explored in the dystopian novel 1984. However, just because they can does not necessarily mean they will. The art installation also mocks the overt paranoia and fear about surveillance. “Zoom and enhance” is still impossible with current technology and even if you are being passively monitored, you should not be too worried unless you are doing something illegal, like murder.
Overall, this is my favourite interactive art installation at iLights and it made me ponder the balance we have to achieve between celebrating life and memory-making and not revealing so much information that a stalker could potentially find me.
Painting a wall can be fun, especially the result of it is a surprise. That is the experience when you interact with Shades of Temporality, an art installation version of a kinder egg. The installation starts off as a blank, normal wall. Participants can use one of the giant paint rollers to ‘paint’ over the wall. While pressing on a button on the paint roller, the ‘paint’ is projected on the wall in real time wherever the top of the roller was. The artwork is cleared via an iPad on the side.
The paint is patterned and constantly moving and changing. This not only makes the artwork very dynamic, but also adds in an element of fun and surprise as you would not know beforehand the patterns and end result.
Shades of Temporality is a stunning installation celebrates artistic freedom. There is no pressure for participants to paint the wall ‘right’ or in a specific pattern. Furthermore, as there are many paint rollers available, it also encourages people to collaborate with one another in creating an art piece. As the artwork can be easily erased with just a tap on the iPad, Shades of Temporality emphasises the impermanence of art. This temporality is not necessarily negative as it allows us to focus and enjoy the present, and once the art is completed and cleared, to start afresh with nothing holding us back.