Future Park by TeamLab @ V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

With the company I am working with for the next six months in Cape Town (more about that soon), I went to visit Future Park at the V&A Waterfront to, as it is said on the website, ‘play in a digital universe that evolves in front of your eyes’. Originally made for kids by the Tokyo-based creative group TeamLab, this digital exhibition is a nice take on new exhibition-making practices. It’s very interactive, engaging and playful.

On the first floor, the first exhibit is a big touchscreen showing symbols falling. When you touch them, they become animals, plants, landscape, creating poetic pictures. I was personally amazed by it and could not stop to interact with it. Visually, it works really well. Not far from it, you can see a multicoloured whale moving on the floor. Beautiful.

Another exhibit uses the visitors’ creations. At the entry, you choose two drawings: one of a type of transport, the other of a sea animal. In the room, you can colour them and scan them, which makes them appear on a big screen among other drawings. Fun and poetic.

The first floor also showcases a interesting digital/3D/building game. On a screen table, you can touch and move houses, pyramids, cylinders… each type representing a transport of some sort – for instance, the red houses are for building a road, the pyramids for digging a river. Recognized by a camera above it, two red houses form a road, a third continue it, and so on and so on. Same thing for each type. And, this world that you build appears rendered on a screen in front of you. You can see the city you’re building with your own hands.

Then, the rest happens on the second floor with a playground with coloured balls/balloons. The gestures of the visitor make them change colours and the sound of the space also follows the interactions. Plus, there’s a digital hopscotch you can play with. This second space is less impressive but stay colourful and playful. As a whole, Future Park is a success. I had fun and was transported. Plus, it’s beautiful. I believe the videos speak for themselves .

Such an experience makes sense in a city like Cape Town where the gaming culture is strongly present. However, I believe museums could/should be inspired by such events and that Future Park might just be an example of what museum exhibitions will become. Indeed, there, the visitors make the exhibition, the exhibition being a safe space where they can challenge their creativity. Museums could learn from it.

Maxime

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