i-Works fuses art and multimedia

I can’t help but be disappointed by the lack of robots. It’s ridiculous, but when I heard about the new exhibit at the Nickle Arts, one born from an unholy collaboration between artists and computer scientists, I expected robots. But there are no transforming engines of destruction, not even a pitiful, break dancing Urkel-bot.

Instead, the sterile room is sparsely decorated with robot-less multimedia/interactive exhibits. Even with the incredulous lack of robots, the new i-Works exhibit is fascinating in its use of technology to engage its audience.

The technology is not being used as window dressing for these exhibits, but it does serve as a mediator. We’re not meant to be spectators, but to participate as the art arises from our interaction with the piece. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, all you have is an impenetrable and frustrating piece of wank.

Artist Holly Simon and computer scientist Edward Tse team up to bring you the Shape of Conversation–a microphone set on each end of a table to talk into. Speak into the microphone and watch as your conversation crystallizes on to the table.

Sounds of Proximity is another interesting piece by artist Pavitra Wickramasinghe and computer scientist Gregor McEwan. It explores the question of personal space and how those spaces are connected, by having sensors track movement in the room and play music, depending on the interaction of the people.

I had people run around and yell like idiots for me to see the exhibit in action. However, on Thurs., Sept. 11 at 6 p.m., the room will be able to get a proper work out.

This exhibit is an opportunity for students to check out the nefarious spawn that have sprung forth from the unholy matrimony between computer scientists and artists.

i-Works runs from September 1-13 in the Nickle Arts Museum.

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