Interactive New Zealand Festival exhibit Future Playground lets art lovers get hands on

An interactive exhibition blending light, sound, and virtual reality has come to Wellington for the New Zealand Festival.

Future Playground puts the visitor into the installations - showcasing just what technology can do, and changing the way we view art and tell stories.

"It's clear that this is going to be a more and more important part of society as we turn towards a screen life," New Zealand Festival artistic director Shelagh Magadza told Newshub.

Magadza says it's important for children to get hands-on when tech and art overlaps.

"You can see the difference it makes for kids to be able to grasp the tools and the confidence with which to tell their own stories," she said.

"I'm hoping this way of seeing things might make them look at a whole lot of that new technology and see it as a potential for them."

There are ten installations in all, from the US, Canada, and Turkey.

Some involve putting on a virtual reality headset and being a tree, while others ask you to bust a move or play a tune.

Light installation Lumarca consists of 640 pieces of string projected with shapes designed in an open-source programme, while the Infinity Room locks the visitor in with an infinite display of lights and sounds.

Each person can interact with each installation a different way. Meaning for the 250,000 people worldwide who've checked out the Infinity Room, their experience has been totally unique.

For the technophobes, Black Mirror fans, or those who think children shouldn't spend so much time in front of screens - there's nothing to be afraid of.

"This is where the arts can be an important part of the discussion," Ms Magadza said.

To take control of any new technology that's coming into our society and using it for human good, and using it intelligently and creatively, then of course it could possibly advance us as a civilisation."

The younger generation are more than happy to get stuck in, with reactions ranging from "I got to skip swimming" to "EPIC!"

It's fun for big kids too - with one parent saying "the meditation was awesome, where they had to lie still for twelve minutes."

But it's not going to be around too far into the future - this playground closes its doors on Sunday.


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