Tine Bech: The Kinetic Storyteller

  • ©,

  • ©,

  • ©,

  • ©,

  • ©,



    The Kinetic Storyteller


Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    Social engagement in public space can be an awkward, challenging, and often difficult experience for people unfamiliar with each other or their surroundings. The need for an impartial mediator to connect people is something that artists have been tackling with their work for many years and is still being readdressed daily. This form of intervention allows for people occupying a space to engage in playful and anonymous interaction with others. Creatively speaking, this can take the form of a simple note on the wall that reminds people that others exist around them or a full-scale interactive experience that encourages interaction between people as well as inviting them to play with a system.

    The Kinetic Storyteller is a playful environment for social interaction consisting of a pair of illuminated swings next to each other. As participants swing on the structure, they are connected to a data stream of the networked landscape around them, specifically the social media banter of Twitter. With each kinetic swing rotation, a game of color is played out on screens situated in front of the swings. Each swing generates different colors and takes over different pixels. The social interaction is not only a game of gaining pixels; here each player can see their kinetic movement and battle to show the most data or swing in sync to reveal hidden stories. Thus the motion of the swings drives the data stream, illuminating the lost connection between our physical movement and the information that we generate and carry with us daily in our mobile devices. Participants’ interaction with the swings materializes the data moving invisibly through their immediate spaces through play.

    The playground swing is one of life’s simplest pleasures. Feeling your suspended body move through space, rising and falling in a fixed arc that flows first with, then against, the pull of gravity, is both thrilling and reassuring. It remains a peerless, timeless invention and an open invitation to play, for children and adults alike.

    The Kinetic Storyteller is a magical, interactive reinvention of the swing that brings additional dimensions to data materialization. By imbuing the intuitive, classic structure with facets of new digital and interactive technologies, the swing takes on a character and personality that can be developed by the “swinger.” Using sensors embedded in the structure which respond to presence, modes of use, and methods of play, and using game designs developed by the artist, Kinetic Storyteller takes the art of the swing to the next level to show us a glimpse of the future of the creative playground and creates a truly immersive and mesmerizing experience. It brings the joy of the swing into the digital age; not through touchscreens and game controllers, but through interactivity, game mechanics, and light.