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The Exploratorium – an unusual and fascinating experiment at PLASA 2016
UK – There is something completely different about to happen at PLASA 2016. A new experiment,The Exploratorium, is a maze where the participants show off both their technical expertise and their imaginations.
The simple, interactive, entertaining and educational experiments contained within The Exploratorium prove a concept, demonstrate a principle and wow visitors with a bit of science. There will be axe heads and horns, Virtual Reality and prisms, experiments on perception and even a ‘Brain Transfer Machine’.
One highlight of The Exploratorium is The Sideshow, a bit of virtual and magical fun, hosted by Ryan Metcalfe from PreeVue, producers of photo-realistic 3D models for theatre productions and live events using the latest CAD and VR technology. "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to demonstrate this brand new technology in a way that allows visitors the chance to try it out for themselves," says Ryan.
Another, which has much further reaching benefits, is Lens Through A Stereogram, where the maze ends. Supported by technical sponsor AVITS, Barco, J&C Joel, Sound Directions and ZeroDB this interactive art installation explores the notion of visual and sound perception, in particular in relation to dementia. It is being developed as part of a wider project, in which a series of interactive arts installations investigate how the sense of perception, sense of the self and forms of expression may change in people affected by dementia.
“I have long been toying with the idea of an Exploratorium, and after a chance meeting with Iris Musel, who’s installation Lens Through A Stereogram forms part of it, I was galvanised to make it happen,” says Soulsound’s Darryn de la Soul. “Her project is technology heavy – and what better place to show off that technology than at PLASA 2016? The Experiments are also going to be fantastic, I can’t wait to see and hear them in action!”
Each of the companies involved is always eager to try new and innovative things, which in their normal worlds can prove tricky at times, and were keen to be part of the project. “We often joke about Alzheimer's, whilst brazenly charging on with our hectic schedules in the event world,’ says the company’s Rob Stanley. “Yet this disease is here and now. The Exploratorium will hopefully make a few of us stop and think for a moment.”
“As humans, we are living longer and most likely will encounter dementia either directly or indirectly, so raising awareness and understanding is important for us all,” adds Stanislas Boivin-Champeaux, managing director for Sound Directions Ltd.
“The fight against dementia is something close to our hearts,” concurs Fiona Blackett, business development manager at J&C Joel. “We think it’s fantastic that PLASA is getting involved and helping to highlight this important health issue.”
Simon Turtle, country director from Barco comments: “Barco is proud to be a partner on Lens through a Stereogram and that our cutting-edge technology will help the project communicate a better understanding of the effects experienced in dementia."
“This project aims to show us what it is like to live with dementia with the use of visual processing,” says AVITS Ed Sillars. “I don’t want to give away any more than that. Come and see it for yourself.”
“We were very impressed with Iris’s project ideas and have been pleased to see her engage the public with her imaginative project to convey the challenges dementia poses to individuals and society,” comments Dr Laura Phipps, science communications manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK. “With many projects fighting for attention, a hands-on approach that combines art and science is a breath of fresh air and a new angle to approach communications around dementia as a serious health condition.”
Further support and participation for The Exploratorium comes from Next Robe Generation, who are conducting three experiments, AVITS, d&b, Funktion One, Genius Bros, J&C Joel, Klang, PreeVue, Projection Artworks, Sound Directions, TV One, University of Derbyshire and ZeroDB.
Loudspeaker manufacturers d&b and Funktion One are both contributing experiments, whilst Projection artworks Projection Artworks will be showcasing its Display Mapper system and technology platform that helps create low cost, show-stopping projection-mapped displays at the touch of a button from any smart device.
“Engaging people at a practical level interactively, so that they can make their own minds up about what it is that is being experimented brings some originality to the exhibition with some fun thrown in, says Funktion One’s Ann Andrews.
“Education is a fundamental part of what we do and extremely important for the industry as a whole,” adds Emma Adamou from d&b. “Acoustic experiments have proved to be a very effective and inspirational way of achieving this and The Exploratorium is the ideal platform to demonstrate it, whilst providing a varied and cultural experience for show visitors.”
"We are happy to present some of our research at the Exploratorium at PLASA because we believe this: every single person on the planet is an explorer, an investigator, a researcher,” concludes Peter Lennox from University of Derby. “If we managed to inspire just one person to contribute some small advancement in human knowledge, we’ve done our job."
There is still the chance to be involved as there are still a few experiment spaces and sponsorship opportunities available.
5th September 2016
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