Interactive Exhibition: Hands-on Art

BY Simon Gonzalez

A floor that changes when it feels footsteps. Orbs that light up and play music when touched. Sculptures that are really instruments. All are part of “Response is the Medium ” an interactive exhibit on display at the Cameron Art Museum through January 10 2016.

This is art intended for eyes — but also for hands feet and ears. Audience participation is not only encouraged it’s expected. Even required.

The title of the exhibit is taken from a 1977 quote by Myron W. Krueger an interactive art pioneer.

“As an art form this is unique ” he said. “Instead of an artist creating a piece of artwork the artist is creating a sequence of possibilities.”

Indeed each exhibit provides a different experience for each museum patron.

Brian Knep’s work from his “Healing Series” is an interactive floor projection with patterns that change in response to the stimulus of a step. The patterns pull away when visitors walk across creating “wounds.” When no one is on the floor the patterns return to cover the wounds but in a different way than before.

“MICRO” is the creation of Purring Tiger (Aaron Sherwood and Kiori Kawai). The piece consists of 200 hanging translucent orbs each containing a colored light and a speaker that’s activated after being gently tapped. Museum-goers create music by touching the orbs. Each composition is unique to the person creating it.

“Soundforge” is another exhibit that allows for inimitable music. The collaboration between metalsmith Gabriel Craig and composer Michael Remson consists of three hand-forged steel-keyed instruments. Visitors engage the work by using custom hand-carved wooden mallets to strike the keys. Craig said the act is similar to the metalworking he does.

“When you’re hammering you’re making metal and you’re creating sound ” Craig says.