“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Traffic-stopping art unmasks the public in Liverpool’s city centre.

The quote above captures the theme behind the mobile, public installation ‘Big Mouth’, which formed part of the ‘Liverpool Provocations’ series of events taking place in January 2016. Curated by Metal Liverpool, four public-realm artworks were commissioned as a series of interruptions that urge the public to stop and ponder questions around consumption, money, value and exchange.

The organisation behind ‘Big Mouth’ is a media arts practice creating technology-driven artworks that are intended to act as interventions in public spaces, encouraging engagement from the public. MeYouandUs felt that the unique and intuitive PufferSphere would help them realise the artistic vision of the project and approached Pufferfish to be involved.

Utilising a ground-standing 90cm diameter PufferSphere Touch, the installation involved recording close-ups of participant’s mouths while they shared their thoughts on what they felt was wrong with their world.

Participants made their confessions via a megaphone, while footage of their mouth was displayed on the PufferSphere. Animated demons, the work of talented local street artist Tomo were then viewable through the eyepiece on the side of the installation. The participant's own mouth then appeared superimposed onto the demon, which served as a ‘worry doll’ -  visibly consuming worries and fears.

MeYouAndUs founder and director, Alastair Eilbeck, explains his motivation for using the PufferSphere to draw people to the piece:

“We were refreshingly impressed as to how open and interested Pufferfish were in artistic and unusual uses for their displays. We found the team genuinely passionate about their technology. 

Our work commonly invites the general public to participate with technology. We are in many ways just making a mechanism, and it’s people’s contributions that actually make the work. One of the challenges with this approach is how to get past people’s reserve when confronted by something new. The PufferSphere provided the spectacle that we needed to break through this and encouraged people to get involved.”

The PufferSphere was incorporated into the project for several key reasons, not least of which being the need for a robust solution which would perform well in a public setting. Incremental in drawing the public to the installation, it turned curiosity into participation and opened up an interesting social dialogue about self-censorship, ever more prevalent in the social media age.

Not short of eager participants, Big Mouth proved to be one of the highlights of the series with people getting an up close and really personal introduction the PufferSphere, while “carrying the negative burden of harboured truths away into another world”

Photos courtesy of MeYouAndUs

Related posts
Write a comment