Musical forests made from lasers, quadcopters that become an organ of light, a light-painted supercar, and a living room that turns into a cityscape and an ocean before your eyes. These are just some of the projects from creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast—Memo Akten, Robin McNicholas, and Barney Steel—creators of interactive experiences in real time.
Their latest installation is Laser Forest, an interactive musical instrument which was commissioned for the STRP Biennale in Eindhoven. It’s a huge forest of laser beams that features over 150 rods which can be tapped and played. By strumming and tapping them users can trigger both sounds and lasers and the piece becomes a collaborative instrument, as well as an otherwordly playground. The idea was to tap into people’s sense of wonderment and playfulness and let them explore this in a magical environment. “Everyone has those memories of walking through a forest as a young kid and it feels so magical. We tried to recreate the sensation of a magical experience, for adults.” Akten says in the video above.
Adding a human element naturalizes the high tech experience and is something that runs through all their work. “One thing that we’ve found in our work is there’s an emotional, human side to the tech that we try and bring out from each project,” McNicholas notes. Set up in an empty factory space the piece transforms it into an ethereal wonderland where children and adults can lose themselves amongst an immersive and bewitching environment.