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Brief Published: 3 Jul 2019

Immersive Exhibition Ignites Environmental Awareness

Studio Roosegaarde

Visionary Dutch creative Daan Roosegaarde is launching his first museum-based exhibition with the Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. Presence explores the relationship between physical action and mental cognition through an interactive environment that communicates the influence that users have on their surroundings, and the broader state of the planet.

Roosegaarde’s work explores how the natural world can guide technology and engineering to encourage sustainable human progress. Presence syphons this focus into the confines of a gallery; the rooms resemble children’s play centres filled with interactive gadgets that empower visitors to redesign the space. The exhibition acts as a metaphorical expression of the current environmental crisis and aims to prove the effect that audiences have on their world, and their potential to realise positive change.

The installation is spread across multiple rooms, with each housing intriguing sensorial displays. In one space, flashes of blue light scan over a light-sensitive surface lining the walls and floor. When a visitor is in the room, blocking the blue light from meeting these surfaces, a blackened imprint forms around their silhouette before slowly fading away.

Another room is filled with small transparent spheres that leave trails of phosphorescent light (identical to that of glow-in-the-dark stickers) across the floor when rolled and moved around. The final zone is completely white and empty, free from all distractions, to offer a quiet space for contemplation.

Presence encourages visitors to use their bodies to process information. By intuitively appealing to physical actions such as rolling and stamping, the installation reduces heavy conceptual ideas and technological gadgets into easy-to-understand tools that ignite the curiosity of exhibition goers.

Roosegaarde was previously the keynote speaker at Stylus’ 2018 London Decoded Future Summit – see the full event coverage for his insights on creating a human-first tomorrow. For more of his projects and the surrounding aesthetic that celebrates the dark spirit of nature, see our A/W 19/20 Design Direction Essence.

Studio Roosegaarde