Article categories: Issue 65
July 6th, 2009

In Melbourne’s newest technologically focused commercial precinct – Digital Harbour at the Melbourne Docklands – a new interactive installation is extending urban art to the Internet and mobile phones.


Troy Innocent's Field of Play, at Digital Harbour.

Field of Play, by artist Troy Innocent is a unique interactive installation that doubles as a simple and addictive game based on the classic contest of rock/paper/scissors.

The work that pushes the boundaries of art and the possibilities for interacting with a global audience by combining mobile phone and online technology, three unique species of iconography, embedded sculpture, dynamic light and interactive sound.

Field of Play is inspired by themes of play and participation and invites the audience to become a part, to engage their imagination and interact with the urban art environment. The installation uses digital icons rendered in a range of materials that are integrated within the surrounding architecture and landscape.

Gameplay is based on interaction between three sets of iconography, each colour coded in orange, blue and green. According to Innocent, the iconography is inspired by electronic networks, digital games, and tribal cultures and represents the communities that work and play at Digital Harbour.

According to Innocent, “We now inhabit a mixed reality in which the virtual and the real co-exist within a cross-media environment.”

After dark a digital game generates patterns of light and sound via the illuminated icons and Innocent’s world of glowing icons, digital forms, moving light and dynamic sounds become ever more fascinating. Innocent says, “Rather than triggering off effects at random with some kind of algorithm, people are walking through a game that is being played, so there’s all these different ways of trying to connect and involve people with the space.”

He adds, “The first time a game started spontaneously, it was quite an odd feeling; the presence of another person coming through the artwork and several people playing at once is dynamic and fascinating; the physical relationship to the artwork and the realisation that by pushing some buttons on a mobile device you are actually controlling the laneway! Players often get distracted by that process and forget to be strategic.”

Innocent believes Digital Harbour provides a fitting location for Field of Play, as the precinct itself is a hot bed for digital innovation. Within its bounds, Digital Harbour has assembled what it calls a critical mass of technological players: a productive cluster that includes the digital divisions of various large and well established companies, as well as a variety of smaller, more specialised operators.

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