quite an experience
of the main highlights of the recent future physical WEAR ME!!!
Network exchange was the TxOom installation, in Great Yarmouth's
Hippodrome Circus Space. Everyone who went to TxOom will have different
story about their experience of it, but here is a personal account
of what it was like to visit.
up at The Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth didn't conjure up images
of scary digital arts installations: rather, it was like getting
to a circus before all the crowds. An impression which was reinforced
once inside, where the mad, mystical Greek lady, Sia, read everybody's
future in their coffee grounds, and encouraged allcomers to "Write
the letter that they never wrote" on her transparent plastic
skirt, in marker pen. So, by the time we were led through to TxOom
itself, we were all completely at ease.
donned thin paper bodysuits, we moved to what would normally be
the circus arena, to be asked whether we wanted to remain on the
ground or take aerial positions within TxOom. Opting, initially,
for suspension, I found myself being strapped into a climbing chair
suspended from the ceiling, part of which formed a costume featuring
huge legs, each containing a large ball, which dangled almost to
the ground. I was then winched 15 feet into the air - thanks to
the fact that there was always such a breadth of experience and
interaction to be had, I never once entertained thoughts of vertigo.
lights went down and TxOom got into its stride. I found myself concentrating
on the exhilaration of being suspended in the air, and having access
to two ropes enabling me to swing considerable distances across
the arena - with, it must be said, a fair amount of physical effort.
Interaction with fellow visitors wasn't a problem either - the balls
weighing down my enormous trousers were greeted as great toys by
those on the ground.
my attention would be distracted by a change in the music or visuals,
triggered by people within TxOom although never was I aware of altering
the environment by my own actions, which was a pity. But during
the latter stages - in a more analytical mood - I was able to divine
the effects on the environment of various participants - particularly
the effect the person bouncing from the ceiling on a piece of bungee
had on the sound.
I enjoyed myself by swinging around, taking in the general ambience
and messing around trying to get my costume out of reach of the
participants on the ground yet failing miserably at that, to everyone's
amusement. The enthusiasm of various pre-teens in the installation
graphically demonstrated that it had enormous appeal, and I was
sad to leave it. But, in intellectual terms, lack of reaction to
my actions (even after a further stint at ground level) left me
short of insight into the nature of technology, play and art - which
I was hoping to acquire from TxOom. Still, the installation already
provides a most enjoyable environment and will be further refined
this year, so I look forward to visiting it again.