Undeterred, I had a look at the first piece. Artist Yuri Suzuki has collaborated with chair-spinning singer-songwriter will.i.am to create the sonic and visual installation, Pyramidi. It consists of drums, a Rhodes piano and a guitar - all programmed to play along with the 3D system sculpture of will.i.am reincarnated as Tutankhamun. Bizarre.
As we're all guilty of illegal downloads, artists are increasingly relying on live performances to turn their millions into multi-millions. Worryingly, artistic installations seem to be where will.i.am sees his future revenue.
It's hard to deny the power of the piece. Wherever you go will.i.am will follow - his yellow eyes and asymmetrical haircut looming from all angles. He claims that he and Suzuki were merely 'geeking out' when creating this massive artwork. Sadly, I don't think posing as a Pharaoh can be masked as geekdom. These days, you can’t throw a rock at the Grammys without hitting someone who’s claimed royal or god-like status. I’ll give Kanye a pass (he made My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy after all), but when you’re best known for having a number one with Where Is The Love and a passing knowledge of Ruby on Rails, you need to sit down.
Musical egos aside, one aspect of Digital Revolution that must be praised is the Not Impossible Foundation's EyeWriter. Originally designed for graffiti artist Tempt One after he was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder ALS, this technological miracle allowed him to paint using eye movement. It’s similar to Google Glass, but much more useful and far less perverted.
Getting Up: The Tempt One Story Trailer from The Ebeling Group on Vimeo.
The Pit Gallery is dominated by Assemblance, a deeply engaging experience which uses lasers in order to create light fields. Visitors walk through this exhibition in an effort to master the lasers through interaction. The idea is to work with other visitors to unlock secret elements, but it would seem that most people just try to score the best snaps on their iPhones. Don’t hate, because there probably isn’t a better example of Digital Revolution’s ethos than people scrambling for techno-affirmation on Instagram.
Chris Milk's The Treachery of Sanctuary is truly compelling. As an-all encompassing and monumental three panelled reactive installation, it turns your shadow into a moving image of a bird in flight. The marriage of art and technology in Digital Revolution is fun, yet the art in Milk’s piece definitely trumps the technology here. Once again - The Treachery of Sanctuary is in keeping with the Barbican's objective to allow people to become the creators.
The Barbican’s claim that this exhibition encompasses the Digital renaissance is a bit far-fetched. It’s true that new types of art and methods of viewing art are emerging – digital artists, online galleries, coders etc. but I don't think they’re revolutionary. We have new modes of entertainment now and whether you experience them in a gallery, behind a desk or on the tube, digital media is something we’re totally familiar with.
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