By Joshua Gliddon
Adelaide’s long-running Fringe Festival, which attracts an estimated two million visitors to the city over the course of a month, has embraced digital arts and performances with its new Digital Playground feature.
The Digital Playground is centred on the main entry foyer of the State Library of South Australia, and had a collaboration with search engine giant Google as its centrepiece.
“There are many virtual reality projects that invite people to explore art works and performance pieces wearing a VR headset,” says Heather Croall, Adelaide Fringe Director and chief executive.
The works explored the intersection of narrative, art and virtual reality. “We want to be able to explore what happens when those things come together,” she noted, and added that bringing technical coders together with artists is a new area for both the Festival, and also for society in general.
One highlight of the Digital Playground was a collaboration with technology company Google, and its Sydney-based Google Creative Lab. The collaboration, a digital Cube, is a six-sided story-telling platform. Viewers were able to stand in front of a screen and alter the direction of the story they are immersed in by moving The Cube.
Works that are created for The Cube had multiple narrative threads, a little like the Choose Your Own Adventure books many Gen-Xers will remember from their childhood.
The Digital Playground also had five additional immersive virtual reality worlds, all explorable through the use of VR headsets.
“Those worlds have been curated by the Melbourne-based studio VRTOV,” she said. “There were workshops open to people who are interested in the technology and techniques for creating their own virtual reality worlds.”
Along with the installations in the State Library, the Digital Playground also had a major illumination program for the cultural boulevard running along Adelaide’s North Terrace.
The Digital Playground ran from February 12 until March 13, 2016.
For more information about what to do in Adelaide check out our guide to the best places to eat and things to see.