Dominic Harris’s Imagine at Halcyon Gallery: A groundbreaking interactive digital exhibition
This winter, the relationship between technology, art and human interaction is being redefined at the Halcyon gallery with the opening of Dominic Harris’s hugely anticipated exhibition Imagine. The artist, who has been featured to great acclaim at both the V&A and the Grand Palais in Paris, has now launched his first extensive and fully immersive show on London’s Bond Street. You won’t be able to miss it: projected onto the Halcyon’s five-storey facade is his largest digital art projection to date, a bespoke commission from the gallery. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s family-friendly – and it will rewire the way you think about the world around you.
It’s a fitting introduction to the display, as Harris works at the forefront of the digital art medium, combining both his classic art background and technology skills to create new realms of aesthetic possibility. His application of virtual coding to the tangible, natural world puts a playful spin on the dark reputation of the digital age. In a time when our data is being harvested and devices are becoming more intuitive, this exhibition uses technological advances to create something groundbreaking which puts the power back in our hands, encouraging us to actively challenge our perceptions of reality.
The millennial generation spends hours in front of cameras, staring at screens both at home and on the go (you are probably reading this on your smartphone right now) but this installation asks us to reflect on our interdependence with today’s tech-fuelled pop culture. A series of interactive screens shave been set up to create personal artworks that respond to us as viewers. One such work is Ice Angel, which allows us to be the subject of the portrait whilst also making us participants in its creation. As visitors move, the image will respond, wings unfurling from the snow and capturing a unique angel image. What’s more, the technology will remember your own imprint and recall it whenever you return to the artwork. Other natural subjects include butterflies in Flutter and flowers in Bloomed.
If you’re a fan of Disney, you’re also in luck as Harris is the first digital artist to gain permission to use their back catalogue in his interactive works. He is inspired by the animations which have pervaded popular culture and defined a generation, and consequently, the exhibition contains two Disney-related pieces. The first is Mickey and Minnie, conceived last year on the 90th anniversary of the iconic characters, which playfully navigates their ever-evolving love story. The second, a large instalment, is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an eighth-piece work through which audiences can engage with each dwarf and the singular personality trait after which they are named.
Indeed, on top of recognition from this entertainment powerhouse, Harris’s groundbreaking work has gained him the patronage of influential art collectors, Silicon Valley giants and cutting-edge software designers, and it’s this marriage of high art and tech innovation that has elevated his pieces to all manner of high-profile events – his holographic work was displayed for both Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary at New York Fashion Week and for Pink Floyd’s 50th anniversary at the V&A. His work has also been presented in public spaces, such as his UFO over Rio de Janeiro (in collaboration with Peter Coffin) and the Thames and the mapping of election results on the London Eye.
Harris is very passionate about his latest project and speaks of it as a portal to our own creativity: “Imagine is my inaugural exhibition with Halcyon Gallery. The installations are a physical amplification of my fascination with the role of the audience and their interactions with movement, colour and light. For me, the art is in the delight that manifests when the viewer interacts with each piece. The screen, the data and the coding become one mirror we can look through to find a space of imagination and creativity.”
The president of Halcyon Gallery, Paul Green, is also excited about the installation and speaks with pride about their role in giving Harris a platform: “Dominic Harris is breaking boundaries in the field of digital and interactive art. We’ve been following his work for a number of years and are very proud to launch him as a new artist at Halcyon Gallery and also present his largest standalone exhibition to date.”
The exhibition runs until the end of December so it could be the perfect festive trip for all the family, giving kids a chance for active engagement and giving adults the opportunity to be playful and open their minds to the future of art. Imagine is open daily: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm.
The editorial unit
Imagine is at Halcyon Gallery from the 7th November until the 31st December. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.