Interactive artwork inspires environmental action

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Interactive artwork inspires environmental action


USC students inspect the People's Garden interactive artwork at Noosa Junction

15 October 2013

An interactive digital artwork aimed at inspiring greater activity in caring for the environment has been launched at the Noosa Junction bus station.

The remarkable artwork, called “People’s Garden”, was designed by students from the University of the Sunshine Coast in a joint project between USC’s Engage Research Lab and Sunshine Coast Council.

The projection of a vine grows when a member of the public texts a message to it, answering “what did you do for the environment today?”.

Flowers grow, sometimes animals fly across the screen, and if you’re really lucky a bush turkey appears, only to run away in a hurry, typical of the Noosa bush turkeys.

The messages then rain down around the vine, so the public can read what everyone else is doing for the environment.

USC PhD student Megan Marks said the project was the first of its kind on the Sunshine Coast and had provided a great opportunity for the Engage Research Lab to experiment with cutting-edge technologies.

“This is an innovative and exciting public artwork in a relatively new format,” she said.

“It’s called eco-visualisation – where environmental data is displayed as an animation rather than numbers and letters. It’s becoming more popular as an environmental art form around the world.”

“We wanted to come up with an artwork that made people think about the environment, and we wanted people to be able to contribute to the artwork.”

Engage Research Lab member and PhD student Ben Rolfe said he was thrilled to have been part of the “People’s Garden” project.

"The fact that someone can contribute their comment while they are standing in front of the artwork, and watch the vine grow as their own words rain down, gives an immediate sense of engagement and community," he said.

"It's an awesome project to be involved in, and it's been a valuable real-world learning experience for the whole team."

The team comprised students Sam Hoogvliet, Pat Harding, Chelsea Caldwell-Ternezis, Susan Bohmer, Daniel Wood and Megan Marks who were assisted by Ben Rolfe, Dr Uwe Terton and Associate Professor Christian Jones of USC’s Engage Research Lab.

— Terry Walsh

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