The fifth annual Vivid Sydney is in full effect. Despite the chilly nights and brisk breezes coming off the water, locals and tourists continue to flood Sydney Harbor and Circular Quay to experience the spectacular display. Projected images shown on the Opera House transform the world-renowned structure into a canvas for innovative digital designs. The domineering, opaque office buildings, which by day resemble the rigid strength of our working-class heroes, by night, during Vivid Sydney, are lit up in a celebration of wild neon colors. And the Harbor Bridge, a spectacle in itself, constantly changes colors at the hands of a spectator via an interactive touch screen, permitting an individual to color the iconic structure whatever color he or she chooses.
Witnessing these industrial buildings of massive stature and structures of architectural brilliance being used as a canvas for digital innovation should not only be seen as merely spectacle, but also a motif of modern culture. It appears that the digital and the tangible are merging together into a harmonious relationship, and the same can be said of the consumer market, exemplified by the rise of “Clicks and Mortar” businesses, which are businesses that put equal focus on both their online and offline presence.
In today’s digital culture, a high premium has been placed on consumer experience. And for good reason. The evolution of social media has given rise to a bottom-up structure in which each individual’s voice can be heard across a large spectrum of people, and while each individual voice has a power, a collection of individual voices has immeasurable power, and can be a main driving force in the actions of those whose existence relies on the public – be it a business or an organisation.
While digital can enhance human experience, and can’t be the sole provider of it. It can augment reality, but it can never be reality. Its inherent intangibility makes it reliant on what is tangible. So if you happen to find yourself at Vivid Sydney in the near future, or anything like it, let yourself be blown away by the digital exposition, but also consider the pivotal role the tangibility of what is real plays in digital’s thriving existence.