Each of the mirrors was programmed to move differently. "Some chat amongst themselves, some shy away and others confidently move to grab your attention," say the designers.
The mirrors then synchronised to point towards one of the visitors in the room and followed them, so that for a few moments one person could see their reflection in all of the mirrors before the sequence began again.
rAndom International will present the making of the installation at This Happened, an event curated by Chris O'Shea, Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Muller at the BFI Southbank during the onedotzero festival in London, 14-16 November.
The following is from rAndom International:
Audience is an installation conceived by rAndom International and executed in collaboration with Chris O'Shea, and was commissioned by choreographer Wayne McGregor for the Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House London in September 2008.
'Audience' consists of a large crowd of head-size mirror objects. Each object moves its head in a particular way to give it different characteristics of human behaviour. Some chat amongst themselves, some shy away and others confidently move to grab your attention.
When members of the audience enter the perimeter of the installation, the mirrors inquisitively follow someone that they find interesting. Having chosen their subject, they all synchronise and turn their heads towards them. Suddenly that person can see their reflection in all of the mirrors.
They will watch this person until they become disinterested, then either seek out another subject or return to their private chatter. The suddenly synchronised collective behaviour of the objects is beyond the control of the viewer, as it is left entirely to their discretion to let go of their subject.
In general the installation aimed to reverse the roles of the viewer and the viewed during this in-voluntary interaction. Will other members of the audience experience the sensation of being ignored or excluded when they are not the centre of attention? Would the installation create a feeling of un-ease and unsettlement?
The intention was to start taking interaction with an installation further away from the screen or media wall and introduce it into a more physical, three-dimensional space, and to begin to investigate if machines can evoke diverse emotional reactions with the simplest of means.
Audience was shown from September 12-14 at the Royal Opera House in London.
The project will be presented in detail in London on November 15, 2008 at the BFI Southbank during the onedotzero festival and part of an edition of This Happened.
Future versions of 'Audience' are currently in development and will be shown in 2009.
About rAndom International
The Londond-based experimental design collective rAndom International was set up in 2002 by Stuart Wood, Flo Ortkrass and Hannes Koch in order to create unique and experiential design projects. One of rAndoms core themes in the past has been the friction between the digital and analogue domains. Searching at and working from the fringes of innovation in science, art and design, they have developed a series of installations, products and technologies that reinterpret the ‘cold’ nature of the digital and emphasise the analogue, often hands-on experience of the viewer. In most of their work an interactive, experiential element is key to the individual projects.
More recently they started to look closely at the theme of designing human behavioural qualities into inanimate environments and objects. rAndom’s projects have won several awards including two IF Design Awards in 2005 and 2006, the Creative Futures Award in 2005 and the Wallpaper Design Award 2006. In November 2007, The Observer placed rAndom within the top ten of creative talent in UK Art and Design. Most recently they have been part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and have subsequently had their work accepted into the MoMA’s permanent collection. Next summer, one of their designs will be part of the 'Telling Tales' exhibition at the V&A in London. Their corporate clients include Nokia, BMW, Fiat, Coca Cola Spain, Oracle and Sony Playstation. For selected projects, rAndom International are represented in London by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, and in New York by the Christopher Henry Gallery.
About Chris O’Shea
Chris O’Shea is an artist and designer, creating interactive work for both public institutions and private companies. He creates experiences that playfully challenge our perception of spaces and objects. In 2006 he was the guest curator of the Cybersonica exhibition and in 2007 received a commission for Designers in Residence at the London Design Museum. Clients include AllofUs, ico design, Greyworld, Jason Bruges Studio, Moving Brands and collaborations with Random International and Silent Studios. Work has been created for the Leicester Performing Arts Centre, Onedotzero, Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, Tate Britain, Wellcome Collection and the V&A Museum. He is the author of Pixelsumo, and is one of the founding members of the event series This happened.