In the late 1990s, I caught a series on Discovery (or possibly TLC before it got rebranded by Discovery UK), called Connections 2. It was the follow-up to a series originally made and broadcast by the BBC back in the ’70s or ’80s and called (oddly enough) Connections back in the ’70s or ’80s. In it, commentator, broadcaster and journalist James Burke demonstrated how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events were built from one another successively in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology.
I bring this up because I was put in mind of how that series drew connections between people, events and so on to present a narrative on how we arrived at a modern aspect of technology and / or thinking, while touring Takni Miklos’ Plankton, which is open through until the end of December as a Part of the LEA’s Full Sim Art series.
Like the television series, Plankton is about making connections. There are very strong cultural / historical elements here, rooted in particular in astronomy, leading to something of a theme of continuity running through some elements of the installation which connect the past right through to our lives. But unlike the TV series, there is no actual narrative, per se; one is very much left to draw one’s own through the process of exploration.
The connections in Plankton take several forms and are as much about how we connect with the installation as they are with themes or ideas. There are a number of ways in which to move around: “taxi” teleporters, point-to-pint teleports, elevators, walkways – you can even use your “inner pig” (presented to you on arrival) to reach other avatars in the region, thus offering the means to connect with them.
All of this means that any two experiences within the installation and the connections made when travelling through it are likely to be same. How you proceed, the choices you make in your explorations, lead to discoveries and connections which are not necessarily linear; making this a complex and involved place to explore.
Aspects of the installation extend from the ground, up through multiple platforms and spheres reaching high up into the sky. Not all of them are linked to the cultural / astronomy theme, so may even appear frivolous or confusing. But it is worthwhile taking your time in exploring and moving around.
One thing you can be sure of is that this is a lively space, with almost everything within it interacting with the visitor in some way, either responding to direct touch or to the nearby presence of any avatar. Even the landscape at ground level is in places changing, where objects will freely interact with one another as well as to the presence of visitors.
In all, I’m not sure words really suffice in describing it – better you go and see for yourself!
- Plankton at LEA21 (Rated: Moderate)