White Room + Kids + Stickers = Obliteration

Geek Culture

Obliteration RoomObliteration Room

The Obliteration Room. © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc. / Photograph: Mark Sherwood

Our local credit union makes a habit of giving away a sheet of stickers when they notice kids in the car at the drive-thru. We long ago stopped fighting our boys’ creative desire to adorn their nearby windows with these adhesive cartoon characters and shapes, the natural consequence being a crappy view on road trips. An artist in Australia has harvested this urge to produce some interesting interactive art.

The Obliteration Room is an exhibition by Yayoi Kusama installed for the Queensland Art Gallery. This particular interactive children’s art is an iteration on previous work, made bigger and better. The exhibit depicts a domestic environment, complete with couches, tables, a television, and a piano. However, everything in this room is painted completely white.

Or, at least, it started that way.

Visitors were invited to contribute to the decor with little colored dot stickers. One at a time, color was added to the room until it was ‘obliterated’ by the collaborative choices of which colors and where to place each dot. [Editor: I want to know how those stickers got on the ceiling.]

Kusama has used interactivity as a creative medium since the 1960s:

A product of the postwar Avant-garde, […] happenings developed as unconventional performance events increasingly relying on audience reaction and direct participation. Kusama’s happenings, known as ‘body festivals’ — or ‘orgies’, as they were often sensationally reported in the mainstream press — typically provided platforms for spontaneous and improvisatory behaviour within conceptual and aesthetic frameworks determined by the artist.
(Source: QAG)

More photos of the progression from blank canvas to living Seurat painting can be found at Colossal. There are also has pointers to other interactive exhibits: Room of Heights and kinetic art made using a helium ball.

The Kusama exhibition — “Look Now, See Forever” — runs through March 11 in the Children’s Art Center at the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia.

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