Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) – the creative studio that explores human perception through trailblazing tech – is set to unleash its latest virtual reality (VR) art installation, A Colossal Wave!, on Hull, 1 – 10 December.
Commissioned by the British Council in collaboration with pioneering Canadian artists (Presstube, Dpt. and Headspace), the installation is an artistic extravaganza combining the latest innovations in interactive VR with computer graphic artworks generated in real time by the public’s voices, coined ‘voice fruits’. You can also experience Newton’s theories of cause and effect, a giant sculpture and a thought-provoking message about marine pollution.
The installation offers a shared experience for visitors split over two locations: one outdoor, one indoor. The outdoor activity, taking place at Hull Marina, lets people drop a bowling ball from a great height, fulfilling mischievous childhood urges whilst symbolising Newton’s theories of action and reaction.
As the ball smashes into a gong on the ground, a virtual tsunami is experienced by four people wearing VR headsets, who can run for shelter under large metal umbrellas at ground level. The multisensory experience is heightened through a backpack that creates body vibrations and specialised audio.
A Colossal Wave! aims to provoke conversation and action about humans’ impact on the planet too. The virtual wave is filled with abstract computer graphic ‘voice fruit’ creatures that symbolise the billions of manmade waste particles polluting our seas.
Each voice fruit is generated by the connected indoor VR installation next door to Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation, C4DI. Here, members of the public use their voices to generate the peculiar creatures that rain down like meteors in the outdoor VR experience.
Users in the indoor space wear VR headsets so that they can see their voice fruits being created in real-time. The shapes and sizes of the fruits vary according to voice and sound fluctuations, meaning each time one is created, they are unique to the visitor.
Robin McNicholas, MLF’s Creative Director, says: “Using the latest advancements in VR, A Colossal Wave! gives people an opportunity to experience unforgettable Alice in Wonderland style moments of wonder. Stimulating the public’s imagination and driving conversation around environmental issues, we hope that A Colossal Wave! will inspire the people of Hull as much as it has inspired us.”
A Colossal Wave! is co-commissioned by the British Council, Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles to celebrate the creative partnership between Hull and Montreal. It also forms part of Substance, a celebration and exploration of the culture, creativity and future of the North featuring music, art, installations and provocations.
Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “In keeping with our fourth season, Tell the World, which reflects on Hull’s commitment to new technology and experimental work, A Colossal Wave! celebrates the creativity, innovation and vitality of the city. As well as complementing the city’s contribution to the digital age, the interactive digital sculpture encourages visitors to experience the city in a different light.”
A Colossal Wave! will open 12pm-10pm weekdays and 10am-10pm on weekends.