Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Turn loose the swans

I was at work late this evening, which meant I was walking across Trafalgar Square at about 9pm, while they were setting up and testing the technology for Flock, which officially starts tomorrow. It's more-or-less an interactive light show, using music and movements from Swan Lake, and it reacts to the people on the 'stage' and there are - well - the blurb calls them ghosts. I thought at first they were shadows of puppets, but when you see them for more than a glimpse, some of them are almost holographic, and some of them are puppets but some of them are filmed dancers. Different parts of the music have different colours and different effects : one essentially ripples blue as people move through it, another traces movements in yellow, another has spotlights which follow you, and let you follow the shadow-dancers, another is text - all text, or text you can only see if you move, or text surrounding a flying swan - and it's kind of interesting to watch, but so much more fun to *do* if you can just forget - as I did - that other people will be watching. It's going to be interesting from a social dynamics POV too, as people intentionally come to see and to take part in it. Tonight was just a rehearsal, and the crowd just people who happened to be passing, and even so - a bit like the Tate Modern slides - part of the fun is watching people play : the people who don't quite dare to step in, and the people who are daring each other to do it, and the people who are fascinated, and the couple waltzing across the square together, and the four girls who teamed up to try and keep the ghosts illuminated...

Basically, it's nifty, and if you are in the area you should go and play.

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