Assemblance was the first media-art piece I saw in an art gallery.  I saw it at the Digital Revolutions exhibition at the Barbarian in 2014.  It was created by Umbrellium for the show, by a team of many people and two creative directors.

I found its mix of participatory collaborative interaction with strange visual experiences.  I had never experienced a projection that so clearly was able to define shapes and create semi-solid surfaces.  I found myself feeling almost surprised each time my hand pushed the projected walls away without physically feeling them.

It was successful in eliciting participation amongst the viewers, as there weren’t any explicit instructions detailing the various gestures you could use to draw and remove rigid objects and chains, leaving viewers to show each other the movements to make to activate them.  The objects could be pushed around and would collide with other people’s creations.

I spent a while in the installation and it as also interesting to see how first time participants would react—mostly by drawing a wall around themselves and pushing it around.

The visuals possible were necessarily limited due to being 2D objects extruded out in space over the projection volume, but still had sufficient variability to be satisfying.


Although my work isn’t necessarily directly inspired by Assemblage, it still points to interesting directions in participatory, emergent interaction between people.