Fables From The Threshold

Immersive, interactive exhibition explores the future of technology.

  • Sydney, Australia
  • 11
    interactive artworks
  • +800
    opening night visitors

Fables From The Threshold (FABLES) was an interactive exhibition of immersive experiences exploring the promise and potential of a future increasingly dominated by technology. Bringing together a range of artworks from up-and-coming Australian creatives, the creative technology exhibition saw artists and audiences alike experiment with how emerging technologies can and will redefine the way we engage, with technology, with each other, and with the world around us.

The promise of a digital future


In 2016, we launched our inaugural exhibition Fables From the Threshold (FABLES). A highly participatory collection of interactive artworks, the creative technology exhibition challenged artists and audiences to search for new ways of understanding the future through interactivity. Our goal was to give the local creative community and the general public a chance to explore first-hand how emerging technologies will change the way we understand and interact with the world.

Audiences at Fables From The Threshold exhibition lie on the ground to look at an interactive artwork.

Emerging artists, experimental potential


One of our core motivations for hosting Fables From The Threshold was to provide a platform for the local creative community, exploring the work of up-and-coming Australian artists shaping the digital landscape. With a clear brief specifying the importance of interactivity and discovery, the interactive exhibition encouraged these artists to produce curiosity-driven works based on imaginative and experimental pursuit rather than economic or commercial restraints.

FABLES is an opportunity to consider the future - an unknown space and time which will turn potential into promise.

Tash Tan
Creative technologist Laszlo Kiss works behind the scenes to design digital mandalas for interactive artwork Lips at Fables From The Threshold.

Exploring at the edge of technology


The interactive artworks featured in Fables From The Threshold did not seek to answer how interactivity can best be used, but rather explore its ability to forge new territory in an increasingly digital future. Proving that the potential of interactive technology extends past advertising stunts and marketing applications, these experimental artworks invited audiences to actively participate in the creation of new stories that pushed the limits of what’s possible.

Delve into new perspectives

Interactive projection artwork Delve uses Kinect gesture input to question the role of nature at Fables From The Threshold.

An interactive artwork from Eve Burchfield and Yuchao Wu, Delve examined the value of nature  as technology advances into almost all aspects of our lives. Driven by user interaction with a projection environment through a Kinect, the creative technology installation encouraged audiences to become conscious of the meaningful connections that could be lost without nature, reinforcing that if it’s not in our plans at present it won’t exist in our future.

Examining the mechanics of interaction


Anti-Game was a virtual reality installation from Liam Stephens and Jack Condon that explored and redefined how we see ‘video games’. While seeming at first to be a simple game with a simple outcome, as players continued through the experience they were forced to question the role of their interaction and its consequences outside the digital world.

An experiment designed to both parody and analyse the relationship between audience and technology, audience and developer, and even developer and technology, Anti-Game was intended to subvert traditional video game tropes to ultimately manipulate audience preconceptions about the core function of interactive media.

Art meets mathematics


Lukasz Karluk’s Streams was a generative video display that combined the artist’s fascination with contemporary Australian Indigenous art with his experimentation in line integral convolution (LIC), a mathematical technique used for visualising flows. Created through a process of charging invisible particles to create a field of flowing lines, the interactive artwork saw graphical motifs animate in an ever-changing design of streaming geometry.

Lakasz Karluk’s generative video artwork Streams on portrait screen at Fables From The Threshold.

Adventure into the unknown


Since the very beginning humans have been gripped by an insatiable need to explore the unknown; to meet new experiences, challenges, and even shape the world for ourselves and humanity. There is a deep, underlying mission to personally make our mark and leave the world a better place than when we entered it.

In their interactive installation Legacy, artists Anna Stevenson and Adam Smith invited audiences on a journey to explore an undiscovered future. Those who played embarked on an adventure into the unknown, the undiscovered, the altogether mysterious future in a game expanded by players brave enough to test its boundaries.

The power of speech


Speech is the fundamental and powerful tool for making change. Consciously monitored words can change people’s attitude towards us, how our society functions or even how we perceive our own selves. Spoken words only exist for a fraction of a time but their meaning and the feelings they cause can linger in our memory infinitely.

Microphone in front of blank white foam core sculpture of geometric lips for Laszlo Kiss’ interactive artwork in Fables From The Threshold.

Lips, from creative technologist Laszlo Kiss, was a visual metaphor for this phenomenon. The voice-activated installation saw a digital mandala projected onto a foam core sculpture, evolving when spoken to before fading away in an abstract exploration of how the spoken word is a fundamental and powerful tool for change.

Voice-activated digital mandalas projected onto large foam core sculpture as part of Laszlo Kiss’ artwork Lips at Fables From The Threshold.

The aesthetics of love

Gold Rush
Man uses virtual reality inside creative technology installation Gold Rush by Ben X. Tan, James Frew and Sean Gardner at Fables From The Threshold.

Gold Rush was a creative technology installation using virtual reality to explore the various ways we experience and put value on love. In this instance, Goldilox (singer/co-writer) is willing to give up all material value to follow her heart. To Goldilox, love is her Gold Rush.

Created by Ben X. Tan, James Frew and Sean Gardner, Gold Rush saw players enter a virtual world to explore a reimagined Tutankhamun’s tomb where the pyramid crypt surrounded by untold wealth, mystery and adventure presents an aesthetic equivalent to the feelings of love.

Familiar becomes hostile


Nicky Tunpitcha’s Dollhouse was an engaging multi-sensory experience that used virtual reality to challenge how we view the world. Juxtaposing the idea of a traditional dollhouse against a fragile paper construction of virtual reality, the creative technology installation asked the viewer to question how information is given to us in a world where everything is recorded and manipulated to someone’s point of view or agenda.

Man in virtual reality sits inside a dollhouse frame as part of Nicky Tunpitcha’s Dollhouse interactive artwork at Fables From The Threshold.
Screenshot from inside Nicky Tunpitcha’s artwork Dollhouse at Fables From The Threshold shows unsettling virtual reality environment.

Duality of mind + brain

Mind Over Matter
Gamified artwork Mind Over Matter by Alia Madkhul and William Stewart at interactive exhibition Fables From The Threshold.

Based on the idea that ‘everyone’s brain is identical – but every mind is unique’, Mind Over Matter was an exploratory interactive artwork questioning the concept of human thought and decision-making. Created by Alia Madkhul and William Stewart, the creative technology installation used a fun yet simple game to demonstrate the duality of our mind and brain as conceptually separate yet inextricably linked.

Brainwaves as input + output


Trent Brooks’ Arcs was a video monitor installation using a computer processor and wearable EEG headset. The data-driven activation created a series of linimal generative artworks based on moire patterns controlled by visitors’ brainwaves.

Woman wears white EEG headset to interact with Trent Brooks’ interactive artwork Arcs at Fables From The Threshold.

While most data visualisations consist of data input and visualisation output, this unique interactive artwork created a feedback loop whereby watching the visualisation unfold directly affected the brainwaves it was based on – effectively routing the output back as input.

Generative artwork by Trent Brooks based on moire patterns controlled by a person’s brainwaves at Fables From The Threshold.

A stunning display of light

Kaleidoscope Chandelier

Kaleidoscope Chandelier was an interactive installation from Renzo Larriviere and Simone Chua. Changing the light projected from the structure according to audience interactions with its spinning levers, the reimagined chandelier’s industrial design and geometric projections combined into a mesmerizing creative technology experience.

Geometric installation Kaleidoscope Chandelier by Renzo Larriviere and Simone Chua at Fables From The Threshold.
Two men lay on the floor of interactive exhibition Fables From The Threshold to experience interactive artwork Kaleidoscope Chandelier.

Experience an altered reality


Millions of factors influence a person’s ability to visually observe something. In Perspectives, Richard Wong used mixed media sculpture to explore the possibilities of an altered visual reality. Inviting audiences to step back and see the world around them in a different way, this experimental interactive artwork explored the myriad ways that our personality, background and biology change what and how we see.

Two men interact with mixed media sculpture Perspectives by Richard Wong during Fables From The Threshold interactive exhibition.

New ways of understanding


Throughout its conception and development, Fables From The Threshold challenged artists to search for and express new ways of understanding through immersion and interactivity. As a result, the interactive exhibition also gave audiences of its weeklong run at The Mechanic in Redfern, Sydney an opportunity to explore the fear and hope of a future dominated by technology.

Signage for interactive exhibition Fables From The Threshold at The Mechanic in Redfern, Sydney.

In the lead up to its launch, the interactive exhibition garnered significant media attention, including a feature from news.com.au. Once open, FABLES drew audiences from both the creative industry and the general public, with a crowd of over 800 people on opening night queuing for lengthy periods to experience and enjoy many of the creative technology artworks.

People waiting to enter an experience at Fables.

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