Digital Revolution is the Barbican’s epic survey of digital creativity - past, present and future. Through a series of themed rooms, visitors can explore the use of technology to create ever-more engaging art, games, films and music.
The main venue is the 90-metre-long Curve gallery, which has been packed to the rafters with artefacts, displays and art, all accompanied by a cacophonous soundtrack. While appearing chaotic, the whole thing is wonderfully orchestrated. The overall impact is to delight and amaze, although it’s not the sort of space in which you’d want to spend all day.
The exhibition opens with early (and working) examples of the first home computers and video games - a real nostalgia trip - in a section titled Digital Archaeology. We Create explores the increasing availability of technology and its role in making creators of us all. Creative Spaces is an immersive section which gives the secrets of the visual effects from Inception and Gravity.
Musician and entrepreneur will.i.am is one of many performing and visual artists to create bold new work for Sound & Vision. Chris Milk’s epic interactive experience The Treachery of Sanctuary is an exhibition highlight in State of Play. The final space in the gallery, a co-commission with Google called DevArt, is a celebration of art made with code.
The fun doesn’t end there - the rest of the Barbican Centre is filled with exciting and highly engaging activities and displays. Worth a special mention - not least because it is so hard to find and likely to be missed - is Umbrellium’s Assemblance. This immersive, interactive experience takes place in the Pit Theatre (follow the signs). As well as being technically very accomplished, it is also tremendous fun for adults and kids alike.
This is an ambitious exhibition, even by the Barbican’s standards. The content is diverse and interesting. The curation is creative and engaging. Production values are extremely high. While this won’t be to everyone’s taste, it’s hard to imagine what more they could do to make digital technology more fun.
For more art in plain English, check out http://curatedlondon.co.uk