Monday, 14 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 14th

The weekend at the college didn't turn out like you planned
The things that pass for knowledge I can't understand..

As yet another year is Reel'd in the 14th Beardibim disappears from the calendar.  Don't worry they are not going to waste - the Sock is weaving them into her festive wreath.

The Sock should have spent the weekend doing a course at West Dean College but after looking forward to it for months it got cancelled.  The Sock's dream of a weekend spent learning in such a lovely place surrounded by seasonal ambience, apĂ©ros by the log fires in the lounge... was wrecked.  The Bedsock had been looking forward to having the house and cats to himself for a change.  But it wasn't to be..

Instead the Socks drove to London to see the V&A (above) Decode - Digital Design Sensations exhibition.  This consisted of "innovative, sometimes interactive, displays using generative software, animation and other responsive technologies to instill a 'live' element into contemporary artworks".  Whatever.. it was actually great fun with lots of colourful and interesting installations.

One of the screens displayed a pattern that changed depending on auditory input, asking the viewer to talk into a microphone to see what happened.  The Sock's words were "Spook" and "Chutney Mary" (as that was where we were going for lunch).  A couple of minutes later the Bedsock turned up and there was a Derren Brown moment when his first words were  also "Spook" and "Chutney Mary".  This was quite spooky but the reality is, of course, that these were fairly predictable words we might both have used and the predictability of his audience is what Derren Brown depends on.

The best displays for the Socks were those you could interact with - in particular those that displayed your own image back at you in various ways. One's own image, good or bad, is a constant source of fascination and so is watching people watching their own images.  The Sock's favourite was Venetian Mirror which only allowed your image to appear  if you kept very still, then the reflection slowly appeared, like a photograph being developed.

The Sock is a fidgetty person but managed to sit quietly on a stool gazing into the mirror until her reflection became clear. She was unaware that the Bedsock had been moving around in the background leaving several blurred images of himself pulling faces and doing 'bunny ears' behind her head. This explained why so many people had been grinning strangely at her.

Another the Sock's couldn't resist was the videogrid.

In the pool of the lovely V&A courtyard (pictured at the top) was yet another installation reflecting your image back at you on panels rising from the water.

The exhibition was quite small but well worth seeing.  Allow an hour at least.

Late lunch at Chutney Mary, one of the Socks favourite Indian restaurants, was also well up to scratch and the strawberry and cardamon cocktail was delicious.


Fat Rascal said...

I like the idea of a picture you can talk to, very Harry Potter.

Were the images very different for you and the Bedsock, given you'd used the same words?

Arabella Sock said...

The image swirled and moved as we were talking and they were different for each of us. These were just colours not images of us. The best sound/related one came from tapping the surface near to the microphone.

You're right - the mirror one which developed more the longer you stayed there was very Harry Potter.

Carrie said...

Fabulous I am so jealous! What a fun exhibition x

Yan said...

What a wonderful place. I wish I could get there. It reminds me of an interactive expo we went to some years ago near Eindhoven. It was, I suppose, mostly for children, so we had to elbow them out of the way to play with the exhibits ourselves..

Arabella Sock said...

I'm very good at getting children out of the way. I just smile at them nicely and say "Run along now little children the grown ups want to play" and they run away! Sometimes a cross parent turns up shortly afterwards asking what I said to make their children cry. I just don't understand it.

It's funny cos when we're on hols abroad we make a lot of effort to see museums, galleries etc. but haven't done half of the London ones. I've only ever been to the smaller exhibitions at the V&A never the full experience!

THe Science museum was a bit disappointing when we went some years ago - I swear it was the same interactive stuff as when I went as a child eons ago!