On September 4th, I attended the Van Every Gallery opening for The Speed of Thinking. This gallery was organized into three rooms with digital art pieces that explored concepts of consumerism, technology, and global trade. Three main interactive art pieces stood out to me as focal points of the exhibit.
In the first room, there was a computer game called Tally (https://tallygame.net/how-to-play). This is a browser extension that can be used on applications such as Google Chrome. Once the extension is downloaded, a character, named Tally appears on the screen. When the user surfs the web, other characters pop up if the website you are on is tracking your behavior. Tally then battles with these characters, creating an awareness of the constant yet subtle monitoring of behavioral patterns from software and websites.
In the main room of the gallery, there was another interactive game. In this game, the user moves a cargo ship to try and catch container boxes as they fall from the sky. After reading about this piece, I learned that it is meant to make the user think about climate change and limited natural resources. If you fail to catch all of the boxes, the sea levels rise, leading to the end of the game. www.sneakaway.studio/the-speed-of-thinking
The final room of the gallery stands out compared to the others. It is a screen depicting swaying bamboo trees. However, these are not real bamboo trees, but a video of digitally drawn trees. This room is meant to serve as a retreat from the stress of tech and consumerism in the other rooms, with bean bag chairs to lounge on and watch the peaceful trees.
The interesting catch with all of these art pieces is the paradox behind them. In the Tally game, even though it is helping the user identify surveillance of their online behavior, the game encourages online use, because one must be searching the web for it to work. The cargo ship game is similar, as it warns of limited resources and climate change, but is really a distraction from the reality of our nature and earth. The bamboo trees have a similar paradox, as it may seem like a natural escape, but these trees have been digitally drawn, surrounding the viewer who may want to retreat from technology with more technology.