DIGITAL ART IN BELGIUM
Images Magazine #27
by Dominique Moulon
featured project: Touch, interactive urban installation
Colours in the city
...'The use of computer code in art shares in the issues developed by a growing number of Belgian structures including the CeCN, Constant, FoAM, iMAL, Le Manege, Nadine, Okno, Transcultures, VJ10, The Vooruit and Mediaruimte, which is located a few steps from Beursschouwburg. This gallery is a little exceptional as it only opens at night and is run by an artist collective called LAb[au]. They specialise in MetaDesign, which they define as: "the setting of codes / language drawn from concepts of communication and information sciences - cognitive science with that of process methods, design and spatial constructs - architecture in the general cultural paradigm and in the production and conception of sign-forms".
Many people from Brussels do not know LAb[au] even though they have, for the most part, been witness to their actions within the urban space, notably with the celebrated Dexia Tower. This is one of the tallest towers in the city and 4,200 of its windows have been equipped with red, green and blue electro-luminescent diodes. In 2006, LAb[au] transformed it into an interactive urban installation, enabling the public to interact with the colours of its pixel windows with a tactile screen table. Through this action entitled "Touch", the Brussels collective offered "control" of an entire quarter to the inhabitants of Brussels since the reflecting materials of the surrounding architecture also reacted to the public's desires through a simple phenomenon of contamination.
More recently LAb[au] started a series of variations entitled "Who's afraid of Red, Green and Blue?" in reference to the earlier research of the American artist Barnett Newman. The colours of the tower during the first opus, translated passing time; the hours becoming red, the minutes green and the seconds blue, while more recently also informing us of the weather for tomorrow. As for the next variations that will augment the architecture of the Dexia Tower with other information, they are still in gestation at the Mediaruimte "laboratory".
Metalab02 History Navigator (requires the Adobe Flash Player 8+).