Robin Price lights up Digital Hub with interactive art installation

17 Apr 2018

Robin Price with his installation, ‘This is not a table’. Image: Luke Maxwell

British artist designs ping-pong table with 4,000 LEDs that are triggered with every bounce of the ball.

We’re all very familiar with the humble ping-pong table. Whether they make you think of stereotypical tech offices as a way to unwind or they evoke memories of sheer childhood joy, it’s safe to say that many of us will have come across them.

However, British artist Robin Price has taken the ping-pong table we all know and turned it up several notches in his latest interactive art installation.

This is not a table is a digital art display set up in The Digital Hub as part of Dublin Tech Week. Located in the hub’s Digital Exchange building on Crane Street, the installation is a ping-pong table designed with 4,000 LEDs under frosted polycarbonate.

Each bounce of the ping-pong ball triggers stunning audio-visual effects programmed in code, so those who come to play will be dazzled by thousands of dancing lights.

Price believes the installation speaks for itself and hopes that people come to play and have a really good time with it. “It’s pure sugar, really. It’s just pure joy in ping-pong form,” he said.

Price’s craft comes from a range of disciplines including electronic music, visuals, audience interactivity and creative technology.

He holds a master’s in theoretical physics from the University of Wales and a PhD in composition and creative practice from the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast.

He said installations such as this in public spaces brighten them up for those see them. “I think if you can sort of create a tiny moment of wonder or joy or spectacle that people have to carry around with them afterwards, that is a public good.”

This is not a table was named after a passive-aggressive note left in Price’s shared studio space to stop people leaving things on it, and as a nod to surrealist artist René Magritte.

Members of the public are invited to check out the incredible display and enjoy an illuminating ping-pong game while the installation is in place. This is not a table will run from 17 to 28 April.

According to Digital Hub Development Agency CEO Fiach MacConghail, Price’s exhibit is only the beginning for visual art at the tech hub.

“This is a restart. The Digital Hub did start engaging with the visual arts and creativity a long time ago,” he said.

“What we’re going to be doing is inviting artists to make work online or offline like Robin’s piece, but that real connection between technology, digital work and creativity is important to us, so watch out for this space.”

This is not a table will be on display in the Digital Exchange building on Crane Street in Dublin from 17 to 28 April.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic