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29/08/2014
The Digital Revolution

The Digital Revolution exhibition is the most comprehensive exhibition of digital creativity ever to be held in the UK. The exhibition spans 3 different areas of the Barbican, London. Learn about the digital timeline of computer-gaming and music hardware, from the first Apple Mac through to today’s special effects, and try your hand at old-school classics such as pac-man and space invaders along the way! 

The exhibition also features the very latest in augmented-reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and wearable technology. 

It includes commissions from artist’s, film-makers, game developers and musicians from around the world, including Will.i.am. A robotic Pharaoh version of the singer, featured in a recent music video, is projected onto a hollow dipped screen, so he sang directly to you wherever you were in the room. This was accompanied by digital pyramid instruments which added to the futuristic video (below). 

One of our highlights was the short film, which explained how Alfonso Cuarón’s film ‘Gravity’, featuring Sandra Bullock, created its Oscal and Bafta winning visual effects. We learnt about the painstaking effort and vision (plus 1000’s of man hours!) needed to create the most impressive visual effects any film has seen to date. 

Another clever piece of technology was the augmented reality screen that creates a ‘painted’ interpretation of the world through a camera (below).  

Filmmaker and artist Chris Milk’s major interactive work The Treachery of Sanctuary was presented for the first time in the UK. It’s three-screen shadow play installation explores life, death and rebirth through a moving onscreen narrative of birds which visitors can interact with (below).


The showstopper had to be Nitipak ‘Dot’ Samsen and Usman Haque from Umbrellium’s commission called ‘Assemblance’.  The work comprised of a pitch-black room in the basement of the Barbican which was filled with interactive lights and lasers coming from the ceiling. As you lifted your hands upwards to them, they shattered into multiple beams or bounced from one hand to the other creating an atmospheric three-dimensional light field. 

The Digital Revolution runs until the 14th September 2014 at the Barbican.­­

By Becki Turner