The Young and the Restless
The Young & The Restless | Modern technology opens new world of art
What I love about modern technology is its use in art.
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Years ago, we could visit art galleries to view paintings, drawings and sculptures made by artists.
We can still visit traditional galleries now, but we have so many more opportunities to immerse ourselves fully in art by visiting interactive galleries to complete the work as intended by the artist in any way your mind can conjure.
Take ArtVo, for example — a gallery full of meticulously painted optical illusion backdrops that become complete when you place yourself in the frame.
I don’t recall plaques with credits to the artists on any walls when we visited years ago. Still, the paintings, in my opinion, were just as good as any I’ve seen — and to imagine the scenes and bring them to life from a realistic perspective is another level of creativity again.
You might find yourself in an artwork reeling backwards from an angry leashed lion, or stepping precariously across a breaking rope bridge while the fiery breath of a dragon lashes your toes from below, or maybe you’ll find yourself dwarfed and drowning in a giant glass of red wine.
(Now tell me you haven’t seen that picture used as anyone’s Facebook profile before.)
While serious art critics and connoisseurs may not hold such galleries in high esteem, there’s no denying that these are the kinds of art galleries most likely to have a child’s attention.
So they’re obviously a great introduction to generate an interest in art.
It’s fun while you’re there and then creates further fascination on reflection when looking through your photographs.
There’s been great use of technology in a lot of recent exhibitions in Melbourne; some we’ve sadly missed and some we hope to still get to, such as Rain Room at Jackalope Pavilion in St Kilda.
Rain Room, according to its website, is an immersive art installation that allows you to walk through a downpour of continuous rain without getting wet.
As visitors walk through the installation, motion sensors detect the human body, and you become a performer in “this intersection of art, technology and nature”.
The Lume is also an impressive digital art gallery, currently showing Connection, an experience of waves of emotions, which brings nearly 650 works from 110 visual and musical First Peoples artists together in one giant digital tapestry.
Connection finishes in early February to make way for a Leonardo da Vinci digital exhibition.
From the snippets I saw on social media, the entire floor beneath gallery-goers came alive with gently surging and ebbing waves.
Often, my kids can rush through galleries and museums, but this was an exhibition I imagined they’d have sat, relaxed and soaked in for more than a few minutes, so one day, I hope it returns.
This week, we visited a freshly opened attraction in Melbourne that would be a stretch to describe as an art gallery, but the souvenirs you walk away with (your photos) are the actual art.
House Down Under is an upside-down house at The District in Melbourne’s Docklands (right under the now-defunct Melbourne Star).
All the furniture and décor inside is mounted on the roof, giving the illusion the roof is, in fact, the floor, and you are walking upside down on the ceiling. Your mission is to pose believably in each room as though you are either walking on the ceiling, hanging on for dear life from something on the ‘floor’ while gravity defies you, or even laying down with all your limbs in the air to look as though you’ve been sucked up against the ceiling like you might be unharnessed inside a rocket-ship that’s left Earth’s atmosphere.
It sounds easy, but trying to visualise what will look good or believable in pictures wasn’t straightforward.
We found ourselves snapping pics, viewing them and rotating them there on the spot to see if we pulled off the trickery.
In hindsight, long after we’d left, we decided we should have stood on our tiptoes more often, reached in different directions, removed backpacks, gotten lower to take the photos, and so on.
Nonetheless, it was still fun, and we have great memories of our visit to look back on and laugh about. However, it is a small space and won’t take up much more than 15 minutes to get through.
I suggest not making it your only reason for a trip to the Big Smoke.
Maybe once you’ve introduced your kids to the fun side of immersive art here, you could go and critique some ‘real’ art at one of Melbourne’s ‘real’ art galleries afterwards.
What: House Down Under
Where: The District, Docklands (right under the Melbourne Star). Locations are also in Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Cost: $74 family (two adults and two kids — more combinations available); $19 child; $27 adult.
Open: 10am to 6pm weekends, noon to 6pm weekdays (longer during school holidays).
To book: housedownunder.com.au