Digital Forest is a multi-sensory moving image installation using sculpture, tactile encounters and 32 channel sound. The work is informed by attention research – specifically, the theory that ‘soft fascination’ provided by natural environments restores people’s mental resources and helps focus attention (Kaplan, 1995; 2001). In collaboration with Dalton, Madi Boyd researches and experimentes with what factors produce the restorative effects of a forest, including: form, light, movement, scale, touch, depth of field, dispersed sounds, level of complexity, mystery and underlying geometry. These are incorporated into an abstracted performative and immersive experience, embodying the sublime theatricality of a real forest. The audience can traverse a large dark space where sound and choreographed complex projected patterns, and constructions ‘perform’, vistas unexpectedly open up and surfaces and walls provide haptic adventures . We want to achieve an original and memorable art experience that will also foster debates and provoke questions and ideas about multi-sensory perception in installation art, and the influence of evolutionary habitats on aesthetic preference.
We also want to achieve original research into the restorative effects of installation art, such as: can particular environments help with mental well-being? If so, why?