arts, culture, interview, What's On

Interview with the Danish artist – Tine Bech

Light / Play is the first installation in the new QV Laneway Series: a seasonal program of ongoing interactive outdoor events, festivals and activations in the QV Square and surrounding laneways. The celebration of light and play heralds the end of winter, with events and installations until Sunday 10 September 2017. We were given the chance to meet Tine Bech, the artist behind the program and got to know her a little bit better.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am an artist and researcher. I am Danish, but I now live and work in London. I create interactive and playable projects where the human experiences are at the centre. Despite living in an age which seems to offer unlimited forms of media communication, we still fundamentally crave a human connection, to find expression in a community and in dialogue. I am interested in how this can be achieved through play, through the creation of a particular environment, and by recognising and exploring the ways that technology has informed our social behaviours.

I see myself as an artist and designer foremost – I love the process of making and seeing a vision come together. The moment when I give the project or artwork over to the audience and they take over is magic. But I am also a researcher in that I like learning and finding out about the bigger thinking behind our culture – play theory for example. That’s why I did a PhD.

We know you have exhibitions around the world – where are you planning to have your next exhibition and what can you tell us about it?
I am really looking forward to my next project ‘We Believe’ in November this year. The We Believe project is an interactive installation that spans two cities – Aarhus in Denmark and London England – as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017.

We Believe examines the themes of democracy and citizen participation, exploring how art can create dialogue and stimulate new connections – between people, between cities and between nations. What is really unique is that it takes place in my hometown, Aarhus in Denmark, and in the city which I now live in London, England

The project is an interactive light installation that takes place in multiple sites. The installation is controlled entirely by its audience and illuminates Aarhus City Hall Tower in Aarhus Denmark and the Danish Embassy in London England from a control room. Using the aesthetics and theatre of the control room we will create an interactive ‘playable’ room on the rooftop of Aarhus’s Karolinegaarden. From here, participants will control individual light sections placed on to both buildings, using a series of interactive devices (turn dials, press buttons and more), thereby creating a 3D playable structure whereby the two buildings are involved in a symbolic conversation as the audiences interact. The more people that play, the more alive the buildings become.

Webcams will be placed around Aarhus City Hall and the Danish Embassy, thereby enabling participants and audiences to follow the interaction on screens in the control room and online. Aarhus City Tower is also visible from the terrace where the control room is located. In England, players will join in via a pop-up control console which will appear at events.

In summary, We Believe connects two cities through interactive art, light and participation, and perfectly encapsulates European collaboration and cultural exchange. The buildings are power structures, namely Aarhus City Council and Denmark’s diplomatic mission in England. The conceptual creation and aesthetics of the control room are essential to the project, exemplifying its theme of democracy and citizen creative participation, and the audience’s interactions are, therefore, at the heart of the project.

You have over 20 exhibitions so far: Which one has been a stand out for you and why?
That is almost an impossible question to answer – I love my job and am lucky to have had many great opportunities to exhibit my work. If I was to choose it would have to been any one of the public art projects where I create a project bespoke to a place, the bridge in Reykjavik Iceland was so beautiful, the river in Recife Brazil or the QV Melbourne Square where I was inspired by the site itself to create something that was full of colour, geometric shapes and used artificial grass as runways – hinting to Melbourne’s amazing fashion and architecture.

What is your top favourite art exhibition or show you have been to and where?
I have seen so many great shows but the ones that stand out are interactive exhibitions – one in particular was the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition ‘Decode’ in 2010.

Recently I went to ACMI to see some of the interactive elements they have on show in their standard exhibition. I also went to the NGV and loved seeing the Bill Henderson room – his use of light in his photographs is just beautiful.

Balance that with the special exhibition at Tate Britain of David Hockney, then we have it all: Colour, light and interactive play.

What advice would you give for those who are looking to become an artist themselves?
Never give up! Keep working – fight for what you love. Keep a physical space where you can be creative and nurture that fragile, creative side of yourself.

If you could describe yourself under five words, what would it be?
Five words!! Quirky, positive, warm, playful, techy. Extending on this a little, I see the positive and am curious but I also like to find out the deeper meaning and thinking behind things.

Being in Melbourne for the Light Play exhibition at QV Square, what have you enjoyed about the city the most thus far?
I have really enjoyed meeting and working with the people – everyone has been so friendly and kind, plus they have been extremely helpful! Beyond the people I would also say I’ve enjoyed the multi-cultural vibe, there is so much diversity here and can be seen in many different facets. I also love the architecture, it so different from area to area.

Lastly, tell us what a fun day out with Tine would be like.
A fun day out with me is about being with people. I love interacting with others, it creates the opportunity to feel playful and from there you can just see what happens. If the day involves good food that’s even better, and coffee …and sweets – I definitely have a sweet tooth.


Discover more about Light Play here.

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