Information Technology Grads Create Art Designed for Interaction
Winnipeg-raised Anthony Scavarelli, BIT/11, MASc/15, and transplanted Berliner Henri Kuschkowitz, BIT/11, met as undergrads in Carleton’s Interactive Media and Design program and discovered a mutual passion for the artistic potential of interactive technology.
“I’d always been into drawing and sculpture,” says Scavarelli, shown at left in the photo, below, “and when I was introduced to the idea of creating art using computers, I was just blown away by the possibilities.”
Under the tag Luminartists, Scavarelli and Kuschkowitz create installations for public spaces that passersby can interact with physically, by means of touch, motion or sound, or digitally, with their smartphones.
“In Western culture, a lot of people have a narrow vision of art as something that hangs on a wall, something you look at but don’t touch,” says Scavarelli. “What we’d like to do is allow people to interact with art in a meaningful way.”
For Ottawa’s Nuit Blanche 2012, they came up with a playful installation that had participants splashing through virtual puddles on a touch-sensitive pad, each step playing a note from “Singin’ in the Rain.”
“The interactive component allows people to become co-creators in a way,” says Scavarelli. “They actually become part of how the piece looks or acts.”
For last summer’s Ottawa Jazz Festival, Luminartists built a giant festival logo and set it up in the ByWard Market, where, at night, it lit up and projected festival information and musically themed animation in response to tweets from passersby.
Their adoptive hometown may have a reputation as a hard sell for bold ideas, but the interactive duo can’t resist floating them anyway.
“For us,” says Scavarelli, “the ultimate would be something large-scale, a permanent landmark that people could see from everywhere, like in the middle of the Ottawa River, something the city would be known for that would be a key part of its identity.”