Remember Brick Breaker? The Breakout clone that was once the go-to mobile time waster—the Snake of the Blackberry era? The game is long gone, but could be due for an interactive comeback—if Aakash Nihalani gets his hands on it.
Brooklyn-based Nihalani describes himself as an installation artist. He’s known for creating geometric illusions on city sidewalks and brick walls with colorful tape. For his latest latest series, Projections, Nihalani went digital. The artist projected geometric patterns onto a white wall, like pixels blown up to Godzilla scale. A Kinect is hooked up to the projector and Nihalani’s computer, so when a viewer waves his hand across the projected image, the sensors pick up the motion. The 2-D bricks respond by twitching and floating around, like fish in a pond, swimming away from a submerged human hand.
The point of any kind of visual work is to be seen, but Nihalani’s pieces pay special attention to the viewer. Thanks to Nihalani’s code, each “sculpture” can be reconfigured to interact with the viewer in unique ways. The exchange between the viewer and the artwork is necessary to “illuminate the underlying personality and sculptural quality of the work,” Nihalani says.
Because they act a little like toy blocks, and because of Nihalani’s neon color palette, it’s easy to imagine a version of these projections at an arcade even at kids parties (interactive Pin the Tail on the Donkey, anyone?). For now, however, Projections will be a traveling exhibit, shown alongside Nihalani’s paintings and Outdoor tape series.