Each of the last three years has seen the HSBC Gallery within the Toronto International Film Festival’s TIFF Bell Lightbox temporarily transformed into a dynamic playground. Computer vision driven installations, 3D printers and DIY electronics workstations, whimsical games—while many of these tropes are now commonplace, what differentiates this interactive space from the media art-related exhibitions found in most major galleries and cultural institutions is the intended audience: digiPlaySpace is targeted at kids. For a change, it is the adults that are the second class citizens.
This past spring CAN received a walkthrough of the gallery with digiPlaySpace curator Nick Pagee, who not only shed light on many of the works featured in the 2014 edition of the exhibition, but also spoke to the evolution of their programming mandate. An offshoot of the TIFF Kids Film Festival, digiPlaySpace was initiated in 2012 to “break the ‘one to many’ cinema model wide open” and replace it with a variety of unique interactive experiences—for kids. “It’s a golden age of experimentation,” Pagee declares, glowing with optimism as we get our tour underway. “With digiPlaySpace we don’t bring in ‘kids stuff,’ we bring in ‘things for human beings’ that will be particularly helpful or inspiring for kids.”