Sneak Peeks of Nuit Blanche 2011: The CFC Media Lab

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Sneak Peeks of Nuit Blanche 2011: The CFC Media Lab

The Canadian Film Centre's Media Lab offers five interactive new media installations in Technological Displacement for tonight's Nuit Blanche at the Bata Shoe Museum.

Alone Together is projected onto the Bata Shoe Museum. Photo by Trevor Haldenby.

The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab opened the doors of the Bata Shoe Museum a little early, offering a sneak peek at Technological Displacement—a collection of five interactive installations that celebrate Marshall McLuhan’s work with screen-based media, the global village, and our constantly evolving relationships with technology. One of the more common themes among Nuit Blanche exhibits.

Alone Together by Shawn Kerwin, Laurel MacDonald

An “art-app” for Blackberry Playbook, users trace their fingers along the screen to form four-word sentences with “I,” “We,” “Am,” “Are,” “Always,” “Never,” “Alone,” and “Together.” Against a wallpaper that’s a bright, artistic rendering of a crowd on the street, and a mother and daughter in the foreground, the app is meant to draw self-reflection upon one’s relationship with themselves, with their place in the world, or with strangers. Another interesting aspect is that the app is being projected on the exterior of the museum, which was intended to be interactive as well. Alas, technological hiccups won’t allow it. But at least if you don’t get a chance to play with the app yourself, you can get the large-screen version.

tweet2hold. Photo by Trevor Haldenby.

tweet2hold. Photo by Trevor Haldenby.

tweet2hold by Ryan Bigge, Edwin Lara, Dylan Reibling, Ron Wild

Personal information has no place on the internet, right? Ha. Don’t trust anyone who says they haven’t let a secret fly on the airwaves of social media because they’re obviously full of it. So tweet2hold is inviting Torontonians to tweet secrets about their future to @tweet2hold, and those secrets will then be printed out and transformed into a flock or origami cranes. For an up-close look at the project, head to the first floor of the Bata Shoe Museum, where coloured lighting, suspended paper birds, and the quiet crinkle of folding paper creates quite a soothing atmosphere.

Heart of Stars. Photo by Trevor Haldenby.

Heart of Stars by Vanessa Shaver, Tsu-Ching Yu

An installation for the narcissistic (jokes, jokes), this is the chance to literally see yourself in the stars. Using the open source technology of Microsoft Kinect, users stand in front of a screen displaying a cosmic scene, points of light converging to create 3D avatars of the subjects. See yourself float through space, push other stars with a wave of your arm, watch yourself explode in a supernova, or attract enough stars to form a single, glowing being. Yeah, this was a pretty cool installation.

Cats Breaking Antiques. Photo by Trevor Haldenby.

Cats Breaking Antigues by Hannah Epstein, Monica Law, John Watson

On a similarly tiny screen as Alone Together, this is an interactive cartoon/game/choose-your-own-adventure app with an offbeat sense of humour. With a grey, green-eyed, slightly demonic-looking cat dressed in a blue suit and red tie as your guide, users explore a ’50s-era house (note: The Dying Room means the living room, The Face Injection Site is the kitchen, and so on…), featuring crudely illustrated antiques that when touched lead you to a short animated movie, a mix-your-own-music game, and, well, lots more. This is quirky, fun, and could be entertaining for hours if there isn’t a lineup forming and you can stand the nonstop flute music soundtrack.

The Quetzal. Photo by Trevor Haldenby.

The Quetzal by Michael Evask, Ryan Rizzo, Mark Thoburn

In a sequestered screening room downstairs at the museum plays a narrative story-game about two lovers in ancient times, in which lucky participants get to play one of the characters… with their minds. Using the latest consumer-level EEG technology, players use their concentration to move the characters through challenges and further the plot. One featured player, upon completing the story, removed the sensors on his head and chastised the audience’s giggles for breaking his concentration. Only one person gets a chance at a time, so expect long lines at this one. But for some of the technophiles out for Nuit Blanche, this could be one of the must-see’s. Err, must-thinks.


CORRECTION: October 10, 12:52 PM On publication we misspelled Edwin Lara’s name; this has now been corrected. Our sincere apologies to Mr. Lara.

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