by Shraddha NairMay 04, 2020
In a world where digital interfaces have replaced everything from the workplace to friendships and romantic relationships, we look to our artists of all kinds to rekindle our relationship with nature. The further we are removed from our natural environment, the clearer it becomes to us just how crucial it is. At Moment Factory, the creators not just encourage a return to the wild but foster an elevated, renewed relationship with the earth. North Forest Lights, a collection of digital and immersive installations, was a result of this endeavour.
The first season was hosted at Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas (USA) from October 2019 to February 2020, the experience was made up of five interactive artworks, conceptualised and crafted by Moment Factory. The works were driven by a single line of enquiry: “For North Forest Lights at Crystal Bridges Museum, we wanted to create a magical communion between nature and the visitor. To do so, we asked ourselves: What would the soul of nature look like? Let us make it visible, tangible and audible,” says Moment Factory. The multimedia studio counts on the intimacy of a shared experience and the cathartic nature of creating, along with the infinite possibilities which lie latent in technology to re-build the frayed connection between man and nature. “Working with interactive technologies allows us to put people at the core of an installation. We love the idea of people living our experiences in an active way,” says the team at Moment Factory.
One of the most fascinating installations was Whispering Tree. The installation is created around the space of a large oak tree. The Whispering Tree is personified in a way that it allows the viewer to speak to the tree. As the words of the audience were picked up, they translated into pixel responses that created a breathtaking visual. To take the interaction further, the installation also allowed for the tree to respond to the viewer, creating a seemingly magical and intimate moment. Marie Belzil, the creative director at Moment Factory, says, “Designing meaningful and touching interactive experiences is not easy and requires a lot of patience. It's basically creating a living thing that behaves on its own and needs a lot of iterations with multiple prototypes. When we succeed at creating an emotional interactive moment like the one at Whispering Tree, we are especially proud. It is a great reward to witness the warm reactions and how people play and take ownership of the art installation”.
Moment Factory has a motto they work by - “We do it in public”. Their aim is to reach as many people as possible while creating access to art experiences that inspire a sense of wonder and community. The team at Moment Factory is made up of over 300 creative and technical professionals from across the world, each with a knack for storytelling, architecture, sound design, programming, animation and much more. This unique amalgamation of talent allows Moment Factory to hold space for something truly special.
“Somehow the shared experience reminds us that we are all equal, living and breathing creatures that can be mesmerised by the same moments of magic,” says Belzil. Art and related projects like these remind us that while technology can enable isolation, it also carries the immense potential to reach across the physical boundaries to bring people together.