Digital Revolution at the Barbican

The advantage of being based next door to the Barbican is that you can spend your lunchbreak in a dozen new ways. Today, I headed to the Barbican for the Digital Revolution exhibition and it was one of the most exciting displays I have ever seen.

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The exhibition pushes the boundaries of art, design, film, music and video games, linking digital archaeology with the experimental tech, most of it interactive.

It starts with what has been and gone – old computers, vintage Play Station consoles and Game Boys. It’s childhood all over again. In the world of iPhones changing faster than fashion trends, it’s easy to forget how much fun Pacman used to be. Or Mario Bros. Or (squeak of excitement) the very first version of The Sims. And I am not even a geek!

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Among many tech things following the video games, there is also a bunch of things for movie fans – a video explaining how the visual effects in Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’ were made and a display about Nolan’s ‘Inception.’ Both blew my mind a little. There’s even a bit where you can be part of insane visual effects, like the monumental shadow play work, The Treachery Sanctuary, where you turn into a bird for a minute. Amazing stuff.

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Digital Revolution saved the best for last. In the dark room at the end of the exhibition, you are a part of a three-dimensional light field where you play with colourful lights. You can shape them, immerse yourself in the colourful mist, manipulate the way the shadows go and interact with others to create the most astonishing things. It’s bizarre and amazing, and words can’t really describe it, so go and try it.

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