Kinetica Art Fair: Robots, Holograms and Floating Teabags

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From floating teabags to sparkling sculptures, the weird and wonderful world of kinetic art arrived in London today with the opening of the Kinetica Art Fair.

The only fair dedicated to moving, robotic, sound, light and time-based art in the UK, Kinetica is a fascinating place to visit. I had a look around some of the amazing exhibits.

Near the entrance was the Hungarian Cultural Centre stand, with an elegant moving sculpture by István Haraszy, a 75-year-old former locksmith turned artist. Apparently, generations of Hungarian artists have been fascinated by the possibility of fusing art and technology.

Next I bumped into Alex Eisenberg of body›data›space, who enthused about the collective’s research into robots and avatars. They’re currently exploring how young people will work and play with virtual life in 10 to 15 years time.

(There’s a panel discussion on 6 February at 11am if you want to find out more.)

At a nearby stand was a group of students from Thames Valley University, with their light and water projection inspired by the 2012 Olympics. Five coloured circles of light pulsated to the sound of a heart beat. Student Sally Potterfield told me the work “represents everything that goes into the Olympic performance”.

Passing Kathy Taylor’s teabag suspended in mid-air, circling around a silver teapot, I stepped into a room containing two amazing light sculptures: Ocean of Light by Squidsoup and Homos Luminosos by Roseline De Thélin. The glittering lights and holographic figures made me feel as though I’d stepped into another world.

Finally, I met Robin McGinley from Interactive Agents, who was encouraging visitors to play with his Hydro-Acoustic Big Bang Filter, an instrument made from glowing, liquid-filled tubes. Activated by people’s hands, the liquid in the tubes moved up and down and the machine emitted a strange sound.

McGinley explained that it was the noise of the big bang moulded into a sound stream. “You’re playing the sound of the big bang. That’s not bad, is it, for a Thursday?”

Kinetica Art Fair is at Ambika P3 until 7 February 2010.