‘Greenhouse’ Interactive Installation.Posted: January 23, 2014
This evening while walking through the Queen’s Arcade in Cardiff me and a couple of fellow product design students came across an unusual looking shop unit, at first we dismissed it and carried on walking but on second glance we were invited in. Inside was a huge net which filled the back of the shop and touched the ceiling. Spotlights shone up on the net, which was filled with two thousand balloons and made up an interactive installation called ‘Greenhouse’. We were instructed to remove our shoes, coats and drop our bags before a ‘sensor’ with a light-dependant resistor was placed around one of our waists and music was turned on. We were then ushered to an elasticated strap door at the front of the net and entered the balloons. Once fully inside the installation, the volume of the music increased and decreased in waves as light intensity changed, the static energy build up was fairly intense and I could feel the hairs on my head and arms standing on end. The colour was similar to swimming under water in the sea with a blurred dappled nature. Despite the music, the most obvious sound was of the rubber squeaking. It wasn’t until attempting to find the exit that I felt a slight feeling of disorientation, but overall the experience was very positive. The product designer in me wanted to consider how this experience could be applied to my subject, I think the installation could be used as sensory environment and may on some scale have an application in multiple sensory therapy for people with learning disabilities or as a tool in rehabilitation. It was also eye opening to see how a balloon, which is usually a decoration, could be used to produce something interactive. Another consideration is the use of materials which create different sounds, touch and lighting.