In 2010, the city of Taipei played host to the World Flora Exhibition and while most of the exhibits were disassembled at the conclusion of that exhibition a few of the more popular ones remain. The Dreams Pavilion, located in Xinsheng Park, is one of these. The Dreams Pavilion is essentially a series of multimedia, interactive art installations set in a series of connected gallery spaces. All of the installations share a floral theme and interact with visitors in different ways, usually via photosensors or an RFID bracelet handed out at the entrance.
Ignore your first impressions. The opening installation, called Blossom, is about as boring as it gets and plays heavily into the pretentious art stereotype. Basically, it consists of a large white flower on the ceiling with pedals that move to generic instrumental music. Occasionally, the lights trained on the mechanical flower change color. Once the show has concluded you are forced to access one of a series of terminals on the left with your RFID bracelet and select a wish from a set list of options.
I picked health.
A flower is projected onto your hand, which you must grab. Once you have performed this sickly-sweet task, you are thankfully permitted to move on.
Move on to where much cooler things await.
The next gallery space contains an installation consisting of dozens of high-definition stereoscopic panels set on the walls. The panels display a series of changing images of floral life. In front of some panels there glowing green circles set into the floor. Stepping into the circle allows you to interact with whatever the image is displayed on the panels in front of you. For example, if the images are of willows, waving your arms back and forth will cause the willows to sway back and forth. Overall, a very simple concept executed excellently.
The next gallery space contains a series of installations centered on the reproductive cycle of flowers. The highlight in this area for me was at the center, which contained a large, white orb representing the stamen of a flower. The more people that touch the orb, the more pollen is produced until the orb literally bursts into a bright white light that carries into a series of display panels surrounding area that then display bees and butterflies carrying the pollen off. See the video montage at the end of this article.
The fourth gallery space is the best of the bunch. You go in, sit on the grass, and are treated to a 360 degree projected high-definition visual experience. At set times, those familiar green circles illuminate on the floor and stepping into one allows you to interact with certain elements of the narrative. Its very cool. Again, see the video at the end of this article for some brief clips.
The final gallery space consists of a few smaller art installations, the best probably being one based on Microsoft Pixelsense-esque tables in which you place your RFID bracelet on the table, a flower is projected onto your hand, and you can throw the flower into a central stream that carries all the flowers from all the tables into a center screen.
I highly reccomend a visit if youre in the Taipei area, especially since they will be more than likely closing the Dream Pavillion for good mid-summer. Its only a couple of hundred NTD for tickets to both this and the Future Pavillion (meh.) and since its been around for a couple of years abd its at the end of its life there arent the same crowds that there were to deal with during the Flora Expo.
Now how about a video MONTAGE!