Dutch designers Random Studio know a thing or two about creating cutting-edge experiences which interrogate the relationship between art, design, and technology. With its latest project, Random Studio looking to change the way we think about search engines.
Body, a screen-based interactive installation, sees the studio exploring what happens when the human body becomes a search instrument to scroll and browse through the endless images that sit on endless servers across cyberspace. It is, as Random Studio collaborator Philip Schuette explains: “basically a Google search bar with your body as the input source and the keyboard.”
How, you’re probably wondering, does it work? “You stand in front of a giant screen and are shown that traces of a skeleton that follows your every move," Philip explains. "Rapidly changing images are laid atop that skeleton, and those images are ones which are in the same physical position as you. So, if you turn, the images turn. If you raise your arms, so do the numerous figures on screen. As such, it is a conversation that uses the universal language of internet imagery as its vocabulary.”
Random Studio tells us that Philip was invited and commissioned by Medialab 2018, WeTransfer, and Cinekid (the largest children’s media festival in the world) to contribute an interactive art piece. It was to be a piece which addressed contemporary internet image culture, with a focus on how we’re all constantly bombarded by a ceaseless stream of imagery. That brief became BODY and its critics became…kids.
As a result, the team at Random Studio are aware of how merciless the young can be. “If things aren’t up to scratch, they’ll straight up trash it. Or, even worse, they’ll say nothing at all and move on.” They’re happy to report that thus far, “the kids are very happy with it.”
Working with vast swathes of imagery in the context of a project geared toward a child audience has its difficulties and Random Studios had to be considerate of maintaining a consistent approach to appropriate imagery – even if the studio concedes that “a very inappropriate image selection might be more interesting.” That is, by the way, the next stage of the project. You heard it here first.
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