Design & Play
29.04.2016 – 14.05.2016

Design & Play probed the interdisciplinary and poetic role of play within the everyday through the eyes of designers and artists. Through a diverse range of research projects, installations and artist works, this exhibition explored play as a creative, social, cultural and political act and mode of practice.

Design Hub Gallery housed a full-scale, experiential full dome entitled DomeLab – a world-leading research project developed collaboratively by 15 investigators and 11 organisations worldwide, including RMIT.  DomeLab was the first mobile, ultra-high resolution dome-based video projection environment in Australia. Shown in Victoria for the first time, its unique and low-cost display system integrated technical innovation, computing power and graphics capability with aesthetic innovation in content delivery. DomeLab featured video, animation games and virtual art experiences including works by Jonathan Duckworth, James Hullick, Ross Eldridge, BOLT Ensemble, John Power, Adam Nash, Stefan Greuter, Sarah Kenderdine, Paul Bourke, Tamara S. Clarke, Finger Candy (Jack Sinclair and Jadd Zayed), James Manning, Christopher Barker and Matthew Riley. Also in the gallery, visitors could experience the virtual art experience Out of Space, which made use of the most recent virtual reality gaming technology.

Throughout the exhibition visitors were invited to respond to ideas of play via a series of interventions. There were works by renowned international artist Erwin Wurm that teased us to partake in a series of interactive art exercises. Fleur Summers married ping-pong games with library desks while Ronnie Van Hout blurred the boundaries between toys and the art ‘artefact’.  Collaborators Arlo Mountford and Nick Selenitsch utilised movement sensors to track and comment on the audience’s motions while TextaQueen was ‘mindful’ well ahead of the current colouring phenomena. Additional works by Emily Floyd, Kate Rohde, Laresa Kosloff, Rohit Khot, Chad Toprak, Amani Naseem, Soren Dahlgaard, Paul Woodand Michael Georgetti further expanded upon and experimented with ideas of practice-based play.

Thank you:

Dean of Media and Communication (Martyn Hook), Director of the Design Research Institute (Swee Mak), School of Media and Communications Research Committee and the College of Design and Social Context SPUR fund.

The Design & Play workshop, masterclass and public lecture were part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant on Games of Being Mobile co-hosted by the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) and Centre for Games Design Research (CGDR), School of Media & Communication, RMIT University.

Curators: Larissa Hjorth and Lisa Byrne
Design Hub Curator: Fleur Watson
Creative Producer: Nella Themelios
Exhibition & Graphic Design: Tin & Ed
Exhibition Technician: Erik North
Exhibition Assistants: Kate Riggs, Chloë Powell

Design & Play opening night, images courtesy of Tobias Titz