Future Playground  is a series of booths in Shed 6 which explore digital artistry. There are VR videos, games and experiences along with augmented art*,  light sculptures, and even a musical meditation to try. (Sadly I didn’t have time to try SUBPAC Sound Meditation. Everyone trying it looked very peaceful.)

There are a limited number of headsets or interactive places so much of the time you’ll be wandering around watching people having a go. Literally watching in some of the VR cases – you can see on the screen what people are looking at inside their headsets. Most of the interactives are quite short although your mileage will vary on how long you’re prepared to wait for each station to become free. (The children there were extremely patient until it became obvious that you’d finished the game when a voice would say loudly “It’s actually the end”.) They’re long enough to give a taster of what the VR experience is like and each is a different take on what that experience could be. Pearl is a music video/story set in a car; Manifest 99 is a mystery following characters in a train crash; Move Studio shows dancers and basketballers moving in space; Tree lets you experience life as a tree (I didn’t have time to do this one either.)

The light pieces are easier to share with a group – Infinity Room uses light and sound to disorient and excite. Lumarca presents animation in a string filled box and uses open source coding. Exp.Inst.Wood is a high tech low-tech looking keyboard which controls the sound and projected lights. (This is where you find out which of the aforementioned children are aspiring DJs.)

The last one I didn’t get to try was Pop n’ Lock Dance Machine as you needed friends to do it with you. You can see the Mayor give it a go though.

An interesting exhibition of some of the ways technology is being used in art.

*Download theEyeJack app before you go so that you can jump right in to Prosthetic Reality which has pictures waiting to be animated displayed around the Shed. Details on the Festival website.

  • Future Playground, on at Shed 6 as part of the New Zealand Festival, to 11 March 2018