Cheshire East’s SHIFT programme continues its aim of bringing digital experiences to unusual and surprising spaces with the launch of Living Sculpture (Virtual), on Platform 6 at Crewe Station. This digital, interactive installation has been created by award-winning, Liverpool-based artist Laurence Payot to encourage visitors to make intangible and emotional exchanges between themselves and the digital world. The installation invites the participant to place their hands within and bring a piece of drapery to life. It uses an old illusion technique (the Pepper’s Ghost effect) to create a hologram and LEAP motion tracking to track the viewer’s hand movement. Dots, floating around like particles in space, are attracted by the viewer’s hands, dancing around the skin like magnetic organisms. When a second viewer joins in, they start to form a breathing piece of drapery, breathing with the participants movements, in an ever-changing shape. Interactive coded sound is also manipulated in the process.
Living Sculpture (Virtual) is the result of a two-year collaboration with evolutionary scientists Ewan Minter and Pr. Michael Brockhurst at the University of York, exploring the symbiotic relationship between Payot’s artworks and people. Together they explored how art can inspire science in its investigation around symbiosis – the notion of “living together”. “Since I started to working in York together with the Ewan Minter and Pr. Michael Brockhurst,” Payot explains, “I have been thinking about how to create sculptures that can be a sort of host, and people could become symbionts who come to inhabit the sculptures. With this comes the idea that the sculptures wouldn’t just be still, they would start living and breathing with the people within them. I put the sculptures and people in a space and see what happens. What excited me most about showing the work in Crewe Station is the fact that strangers might come together for a moment to experience the work. I love places of transition, when you’re shifting from one place to another. This is also what the work is about: communication, connections, encounters.”