A Colossal Wave!, by Marshmallow Laser Feast, a three-part VR experience that reacts to human sound and movement (Austin Convention Center, third floor Palazzo): "It's amazing because it goes beyond VR so far, which is only surface level physical immersion," observes Texas State University virtual reality professor Jon Zmikly, 33. "But because you can affect the environment through sound ... and you're actually face to face with someone else, there's one less barrier to feeling real human interaction."
These art installations surprise by using technology to bring us closer to humanity.
Between all the films, panels, talks, music showcases, and various other activations saturating the SXSW landscape, making time to tour a series of large-scale and tech-driven art installations may not seem like an obvious priority.
But what if these immersive pieces were just what you needed to catch a break in the nonstop point-A-to-point-B grind during the 10-day conference? And furthermore, what if those creative concepts achieved such respite by asking participants to think about or use tech that influences our everyday flow (like cell phones and other screen devices that connect us digitally to facilitate our efficiently jam-packed schedules, but ironically isolate us further from interpersonal interactions) in ways that the art actually increases the rate of real-life human interactions amid SXSW's mindbogglingly immense milieu?
"Snapshot" spent the first weekend of SXSW 2018 pursuing those questions through documenting those experiencing the five installations commissioned for this year's official Art Program, the second grant-based series of its kind following the 2017 launch.
Four of the five installations participating in this year's SXSW Art Program run through March 15; Conductors and Resistance continues through March 17.