This is the first in a series of articles looking at UniSA’s new futuristic museum of discovery, MOD., through the eyes of people of different ages – particularly younger audiences. MOD.’s first exhibition, MOD.IFY, prompts visitors to think about one of the big questions – what is it to be human?
Since opening in May, more than 30,000 people have visited MOD..
We asked 15-year-old Daisy Davidson, who’s from Port Augusta and is currently a boarding student at Immanuel College, to explore MOD., and capture her reactions to the current exhibition.
Name: Daisy Davidson
School: Immanuel College
Interests: Music creation and performance, English, art
Hobbies: Playing piano and saxophone, playing volleyball and archery, creating music, spending time with family and friends
Career aspirations: Journalism, Jazz saxophonist and composer
Walking in, what I noticed first was the architecture … the space has a very vibey atmosphere. The internal decorating and the furniture they have used, especially the big spirally MOD. logo on the wall, is quite memorable. I think it is pretty gnarly.
What else am I drawn to? The café. I need coffee. This café is pretty homely. If I lived nearby I can see myself coming to study here. In fact, the building in itself would make me want to come here.
I’ve heard a lot about MOD. I’ve seen it advertised on social media and flyers and I thought It was kind of intriguing. It didn’t really give much information away, but it made me really think about what it could be about – I had no idea. I am quite excited to have a look around. I hope it will be pretty cool … I think it will be.
I catch a glimpse the first exhibition – Prosthetic Reality – from the foyer. I can already tell that I’ll like the artwork and I bet the virtual reality side of things is going to be cool as well.
Prosthetic Reality is an excellent exhibition that captures the beauty of technology through modern art. It gives off the vibe of a traditional art gallery, in that it has artwork on the wall, but introduces a new dimension to the artwork through augmented reality. This art is all about new perspectives.
To view the different artworks in their true form you have to download an app (EyeJack), which you hold over the artwork to reveal a secret animated element within the art.
For me, the collection challenges what we know of modern art; art doesn’t need to be static, it can push the boundaries and engage and immerse viewers in different ways. Here, the art connects audiences of all ages by blending the traditional with the futuristic.
A modern and minimalistic exhibition and gallery, this space allows you to relax, sit back, and appreciate the captivating artwork at your own pace.
The artwork with Japan and the rising sun. “This art is referencing The Great Wave Off Kanagawa but it talks about all the different tsunamis that have impacted Japan and the wreckage that they’ve tried to clean up.”
The skeleton soldier artwork. “It talks about the fatalities of war throughout different countries and what percentage of the country that it impacts.”
I have always had a fascination with the stars and astronomy – so naturally, I was quite stoked about seeing this exhibition. It seemed to talk about science and constellations in Western culture, but then connect it to the beauty of Indigenous culture, how the stars can create stories that are passed down generations and how certain parts of nature were created. I found it quite fascinating.
My favourite thing about the Purle Munaintya space is how engaging the interactive screen is, where you put your palm on the handprint and it gives you an introduction. I found that really cool. It was presented really well and I loved how it had different presenters talking about the various aspects.
This leads on to the Our Sky exhibition which features a big Earth suspended right in the middle of the main room, spinning around and showing the different climate maps, cloud patterns, and the night time lights of different cities. That was impressive.
What do I think it’s about? Getting back to our roots, getting back down to Earth and really just looking up at the stars, you know? The stars can captivate everyone, they’re just beautiful. I don’t think I have ever met someone who doesn’t like stars, so I think this exhibition was just trying to show us how amazing our universe is while also showing us the traditional side of things.
I think the exhibit is comparing the two sides – Western culture and Aboriginal culture. And kind of showing that there is a middle ground, that there is similarity in how different patterns show different seasons, and this is something that we can all appreciate. I think that is really cool. I could have sat in there for hours honestly. If you had let me, I would have.
Do I like it? Yeah, I do. It teaches us about traditional Australian culture and that’s something we all should appreciate. In some ways it makes me question why people push culture aside because, really, it’s just so beautiful and something we should be reminded of.
This exhibition scared me quite a bit to begin with because it was introduced to me as the ‘pain room’; it’s such a vague name, you could never know what it could be about.
My first impressions are that it’s quite scary. I went in and thought “OK, this is a lot less daunting than what I thought it was going to be”. I sat down and watched the video with all of the different scientists/doctors/people talking and explaining what it was – they were talking about the placebo effect, which I had heard of before, so it was good to have that further explained.
Then I sat in the chair. This is a chair in the middle of a dark, minimalist room. On one arm of the chair there is a kind of glitchy computer screen, and on the other is a panel where it looks like you should put your palm. I’m a very jumpy person, so the fact that there wasn’t much warning for the shocks that followed was a very big shock in itself!
The whole process was quite eerie. It wasn’t pain, it was kind of more the shock of what happened, which scared me. Out of nowhere, something I wasn’t expecting was kind of hurting me, and so my immediate reaction was to scream! Nonetheless, it displayed the placebo effect really well, showing how your brain influences and makes pain a lot more evident with different surroundings. Weirdly, I like it! It’s interesting that there’s a science element to this artwork. And while I’d recommend it, I maybe wouldn’t recommend it to younger people or people like me who are extremely jumpy.
Can sitting down help you see? These soundscape chairs are pretty cool – especially the skate park one – that was gnarly. Sitting in these enclosed chairs was quite cosy and the way the dual audio worked made me feel truly felt immersed. This is a very good way to wind down and take your mind off things. It’s a relaxing experience that you have to do individually. You just sit back and appreciate the audio for what it is.
I think the soundscape chairs are all about understanding the influence of sound on our lives, and the beauty and power that sound holds. I love it.
It makes me think about what it would be like for those who have hearing impairments and those who are deaf. They would miss so many things – the sound of a river flowing every day, or the coffee machines that we think of as noisy, and these are aspects of life that they miss out on. Music, that’s one big thing. I am a musician and a big music lover, so not being able to hear music would not be ok for me. Sound is something we definitely take for granted. We should appreciate sound – both talking, communication and the natural sounds all around us.
Keep an eye out for these chairs, because if you just look at them, you’d think “oh yeah that’s a pretty cool coffee chair”. Also, be sure to read the signage first before sitting down so you can fully appreciate the sounds. I kind of sat in the last chair, which is a 100-year-old tree, and I had no idea what it was.
MOD. is open midday - 6pm Tuesdays to Thursdays; midday - 8pm Fridays; and from 10am - 4pm on weekends. Admission is free.