As part of Tate Modern’s ongoing Yayoi Kusama exhibition, Infinite Kusama (which runs until June 5th and is sponsored by the Louis Vuitton Arts Project), artists Pete Hellicar and Joel Gethin Lewis (AKA Hellicar & Lewis) recently established a groundbreaking sound and touch sensitive light display called The Hello Cube in the gallery’s Turbine Hall. Wonderland sat down with the duo to discuss the piece – reportedly the first ever Twitter-able installation of its kind – inspired by Kusama’s The Passing Winter.
Explain the collaboration with Louis Vuitton – when and how did it first come about?
The project started in November 2011 – we were invited by ReCreative, Tate and Louis Vuitton to come up with some ideas for how we could collaborate to create an installation that was inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s work, but also drew upon our experience making installations that span physical and social network worlds, creating feedback loops.
What interested you about the project? What do you enjoy about the partnership?
We love Kusama’s work. That was the primary attraction. That said, the prospect of collaborating with some of the ReCreative teams was something that we knew we’d enjoy, as it we had so much fun at workshops and events before. We always aim to make work that takes you into the moment – using technology to make an experience that feels like magic. Wonder.
Explain The Hello Cube, which went live on Saturday – what does it exhibit and aim to explore?
The Hello Cube directly references Kusama’s “The Passing Winter”. Physically, it is a mirrored sculpture – internally and externally. We have replaced an internal mirror with a screen that screen that responds to two external inputs. Firstly, a series of microphones inside The Hello Cube allow for visitors in the Turbine Hall to use sound to alter what is being displayed on the internal screen, reflected into infinity. The second way for people to interact with The Hello Cube is via Twitter. Messaging @thehellocube during the week also changes the interior of the cube – and you’ll get an image in response, showing your result in real time. In a sense, anyone in the world will be able create their own unique art work, that they can share with their followers, and physical visitors to The Turbine Hall. We love to make systems, not narratives.
Take us through some of your most recent influences.
Ridley Scott. Moebius. Jean Cocteau. Marcus Mix. Shabazz Palaces. David Deutsch. Eric Sati. Radiohead. Tim and Barry. Boiler Room. Yayoi Kusama. F.A.T. open Frameworks. Lightning Bolt. Rasberry Pi. Porky Heffer. Snug and Outdoor. Miller Goodman. Prior Art.
What now? What are you working on next?
We are going to open source The Hello Cube immediately. We can’t wait to see what others will do with it. We’d like to take The Hello Cube to other places around the world. In other work, we are going to be concentrating on our two iPad apps for children on the autistic spectrum: http://reactickles.org and http://somantics.org.
Words: Jack Mills