Ipswich: Art installation sure to spark your creativity

Artist Jamie Gledhill's interactive art installation Electricus in Gallery 3 at Ipswich Town Hall. P

Artist Jamie Gledhill's interactive art installation Electricus in Gallery 3 at Ipswich Town Hall. Picture: Sue Anderson

Being an artist is the closest thing you get to being a magician in the modern day world; apart from being a magician, laughs Jamie Gledhill.

Artist Jamie Gledhill. Picture: Sue Anderson

Artist Jamie Gledhill. Picture: Sue Anderson

Having positioned himself at the point where interactive digital art, responsive sound design and event production collide, the Colchester-based audio visual artist invites you to come and be part of his latest work - Electricus.

Entering the space sparks a slowly changing, developing soundtrack that responds to your presence. On the large screen visitors will see their outline surrounded by “electrical” energy. The greater the action, the more intense effect.

“No public, no exhibition,” says Jamie, “there’s nothing to see. The more they move they’ll be generating sparks, that’s really the whole idea of the piece - Electricus or electric-us.

“There is a small delay but it’s not really noticeable. Ideally they won’t be thinking about what is happening, they’ll just be immersed in what’s happening and then, afterwards, maybe think ‘oh, how did that work’?”

Suitable for all ages, no understanding of technology or experience of similar work is necessary. The way it works, smiles Jamie, is actually deceptively simple.

“It’s just a webcam. It captures the image and then there’s a load of image programming techniques going on in the background...”

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Electricus isn’t driven by the technology though, it’s driven by those who come to see it.

“I really don’t want it to be shut away, I really like the idea of it being open to people to walk in. I’m trying to keep things simple but also nuanced so there is some complexity there,” says the former musician.

“There’s a moment of surprise, hopefully, as you realise you’re affecting what’s happening, controlling it and if you play with it you might see slightly different things happening and have a bit of fun. It’s a lovely moment to see happen as people come in.”

The idea of electricity, of personal energy, seemed an intersting and fun theme to explore.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just make that part of an art piece? If an old man or old lady in the middle of doing their shopping might come in and wave their shopping bags around to create a minor electrical storm.”

Describing the exhibition, his fourth, like an old hall of mirrors with added digital sparkle, the 43-year-old thinks in a way its an antidote to being at home staring at a computer screen. You’re in a public space, possibly with other people you might end up interacting with.

“[Audio visual installations) are so ubiquitous, accessible... anyone can walk into the exhibition environment and become part of it which is fantastic. You couldn’t dream of that years ago, now it’s all there to be done, so that really excites me.

“The fact you can get people of all ages and backgrounds with no prior experience coming in and having a play with the interactive behaviours, having fun and playing games... that’s good.

“It’s even better when people start trying things like inventing games or using the technology I’ve invented to do something I hadn’t even thought of, that’s amazing.I really want to experiment, have some fun.”

Electricus runs from 10am-4.45pm at Ipswich Town Hall’s Gallery Three, today and tomorrow. Admission is free.