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Interactive canopy installation in Shanghai “speaks” to its occupants

Out There | October 22, 2015 | By:

Photos: Philip Beesley
Photos: Philip Beesley

An innovative art installation, constructed as a canopy over visitors, responds to the presence of people and starts playing synthesis-based ocean sounds, so that when people enter the installation, it seems that the artwork itself is “speaking” interactively to them, within the suspended canopy of the “Spring Dragon Tail” sculpture by Chun Long Tiao.

The permanent acquisition by the Shangdu Li Corp. opened in October as part of the Interactive Watertown exhibition in Shanghai, China, which is part of the Shanghai Urban Space Art Season urban design series.

The installation is a project of Phillip Beesley Architect Inc. According to the company’s website, it’s composed of interlocking spiral “clouds” of acrylic and mylar aerial filters, arranged around an inner chamber of glass, stainless steel and acrylic. The structural system is interwoven with sound and lighting networks.

A “necklace of sounding cells” is triggered by sensors and proximity detectors that track the gestures and positions of the occupants and respond with a sound like the murmur of the ocean.

Traube protocells bedded in layered oils provide balanced, protective housings, supporting formation of “delicate chemical veils” within it. Chains of LED lights are fitted to the protocell vessels.

Shanghai art2The interactive systems feature the first generation of proprioreceptive sensors, enabling internal feedback within the networked ‘Teensy’ microprocessor control systems.

The canopy is installed within a glass-enclosed central theatre building that focuses urban development around an historic district of canals and gardens to the west of the urban core.

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