Announced in Adelaide on 19 November, the AGDA Awards recognise the best work happening in Australia and New Zealand, celebrating all that is “good in the creative world.” Alt Group won the Pinnacle Award in spatial design for POP Marble Run, a temporary, ‘pop-up’ installation that allows people to engage with the work. It also won over judge Linda Jukic in the Judges Choice category.
POP Marble Run is an interactive installation – an eight-metre long double-sided steel wall, activated through a toolkit of magnetic parts, which make each marble run a customisable happening. Idealog has written about it before, but here’s a reminder: the wall is programmed with a spectrum of unique sounds, which are activated through an inbuilt speaker system as the marble drops from one section to the next. The result is a large participatory musical instrument activated by passers-by using gravity and play to compose their own experience. The project was commissioned by the Waitemata Local Board as part of the POP, a series of public art activation projects across Auckland.
Alt Group creative director Dean Poole said the beauty of POP Marble Run is its way of incorporating art into everyday life by making people play and engage with it. “When you’re playing with the marbles, it makes this sound which acts as the reward in itself.,” he says. “It’s a musical instrument that you don’t know how to play but once you do it becomes quite rewarding.”
The musical sounds it emits were developed by SJD (Sean James Donnelly), an Auckland-based musician known for his fusion of electronica, pop-rock and soul. The temporary nature of the work allows it to be portable, transforming the mood and atmosphere of the environment. “It’s art that goes to the people. It disrupts your daily routine – a bit like when the circus comes to town,” says Poole.
With its AGDA win, Alt Group has now won more than 450 professional awards to date. Alt Group was also awarded Distinction for their design on Habits Form Habitats, for Tennent Brown Architects, and awarded with a second Judge’s Choice for Silo Theatre 2016 Photography.