Future Park–The Event That Will Make You Dad of The Year!
This post is sponsored by Futurepark
A digital paradise for kids is coming to South Africa courtesy of YOU. Here’s why you don’t want to miss out.
Imagine drawing a fish on a page and within moments it comes alive and is swimming on your wall! Surrounding it is a breathtaking array of amazing sea life, including an octopus your child drew.
There was a time when art for kids meant crayons and chalk but a new wave of digital wizardry is opening doors for today’s tech-savvy children. And now for the first time South Africans can experience a place where technology meets art. Called Future Park, it’s an immersive wonderland where children can see their drawings come to life and adults can play, explore and indulge their imagination as much as kids. Touring the world, this digital extravaganza has wowed more than four million visitors.
And thanks to YOU and its sister publications, Huisgenoot and Drum, Future Park is here!
What is Future Park?
This exhibition pushes the boundaries of everything you thought you knew about art, science and technology. It’s all about collaboration and interaction. For instance, it’s not just a matter of admiring a beautiful artwork – you actually create the art and then engage with it.
Once your drawing of a fish has passed through a scanner to make it come to life, you interact with the fish, feed it virtual fish food and even control its movements.
And you don’t just listen to a piece of music. You compose it. Even if you’re completely tone deaf you’re able to enjoy the experience of being in an orchestra – you can make music simply by moving your body and your musical notes, combined with other visitors’ movements, create a tune.
Why it’s great for kids
Although originally created as a playground for adults, Future Park has proved to be a big hit with children too, says Shiori Shakuto of TeamLab, which developed the exhibition.
“It charms children because they’re more flexible than adults,” she says. Elzan Frank, an educational psychologist based in Stellenbosch, believes it offers parents a chance to introduce their children to science, maths and technology in a fun and interactive way.
“Kids like to move – they want to jump and hop around,” Frank adds. “That’s how the world becomes interesting for children. It shows them how exciting science can be.
”She’s definitely taking her eight-year-old grandchild to the exhibition. Frank, who’s practised as a psychologist for 30 years, says primary school kids will enjoy this creative experience. “It will encourage their love of science and technology.”
How it all started
Teamlab is a group of University of Tokyo graduates who describe themselves as “ultratechnologists”. Among them are engineers, artists, architects, web and print graphic designers, editors and computer graphic (CG) animators.
When they got together in 2001 they were interested in exploring how digital technology could help to expand and amplify artistic expression by allowing viewers to collaborate in the creative process.
“Creative expression has existed through static media for most of human history, often using physical objects such as canvas and paint,” they say. “The advent of digital technology allows human expression to become free from these physical constraints.”
They’re also excited about the fact that technology has changed the way we experience art.
“Through an interactive relationship between the viewers and the artwork, viewers become an intrinsic part of that artwork.” Since being launched in 2014 Future Park has entertained people around the world, including in America, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.
At Sketch Town Papercraft children’s drawings of cars and trains are turned into 3D paper crafts they can take home. This activity develops problem-solving skills and spatial awareness.
At Hopscotch for Geniuses kids explore different shapes by jumping from one to another and seeing them change colour and sound, encouraging spatial awareness.
The Light Ball Orchestra is a room full of large balls that change colour and sound as children roll and bounce them around.
Connecting! Block Town is a town where cars and trains move on digitally projected roads and railway tracks that children can change and connect to one another through wooden blocks. By moving the blocks children change the direction and layout of the town and vehicles in it.
At the Table Where Little People Live children stand or sit around an interactive tabletop screen. The tiny people that run around on the table react to objects placed on it, such as your hands or blocks, by trying to climb over them or running into them. This activity develops pattern recognition, logical thinking, creativity and an understanding of the laws of physics such as gravity.
Sketch Town works like the Sketch Aquarium: the trains, cars and buildings that are coloured in are then scanned and projected into a virtual town where you can watch them drive around.
The Story of Time teaches children more about symbols and stories. When children touch the symbols on the screen they change into images that tell a story the more symbols you touch.
Graffiti Nature (Johannesburg show only) Kids get to create their own ecosystem. This activity is similar to the virtual aquarium. Stand still on the graffiti floor and watch in amazement as flowers bloom around you. As soon as you move they vanish. You can also draw and colour in your own flowers and animals to expand your ecosystem. But beware of the other animals – they could eat yours!
How to book
Future Park is running until the 31 January 2018 at the Watershed’s Jubilee Hall at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. It’s open Monday to Sunday, from 10am to 7pm. Later in 2018 the exhibition moves to Johannesburg. Details will be released closer to the time. Go to futureparksa.co.za for more info.
* Worried your child won’t get a chance to properly explore Future Park because of crowds? Don’t be. Demarcated time slots mean only a certain number of visitors are allowed in per session to avoid overcrowding.
Single Ticket (Adults and children): R130
Family Package (Two adults and two children): R460
Pensioners & Students: R115
Children Under 18 Months: Free
Assistants are in attendance at the exhibition but children aren’t permitted without adult supervision. Tickets available from Computicket . Arrange tickets for school outings by calling 065-880-7257 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Future Park shop sells merchandise with your sketches, including T-shirts, caps, cups, bags and keyrings.