Digital Revolution – reviews of 'vibrant' digital culture show

Ambitious whistle-stop tour of astonishing digital creations is best when it escapes the screen's Pyramidi in the Digital Revolution exhibit
(Image credit: Matthew G. Lloyd)

What you need to know

A new exhibition of digital creations, Digital Revolution, has opened at the Barbican. This immersive show looks at the history and transformation of our culture through digital technology, with work by artists, film-makers, architects, musicians, designers and game-developers.

The 14-room show begins with the 1972 video game Pong, a digital version of table-tennis, and premieres new work including an interactive, acoustic environment called Laser Feast, and a collaborative robotic sound piece between and sound artist Yuri Suzuki called Pyramidi with music created for the show. Until 14 September.

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What the critics like

The Barbican exhibition is "a vibrant celebration of digital culture", says Oliver Franklin in Wired. It's certainly ambitious in scope, incorporating music, filmmaking, design, fashion and art, but its best moments come when the pieces escape the confines of the screen or the display case into the real world such as Pyramidi.

The Barbican has become a technology haven with "this jam packed exhibition that takes us through the digital world at breakneck speed" threatening you with sensory overload at each turn, says Fad. It's a whistle-stop tour, but this overload is a nice allegory for where the digital world has taken us.

As it ventures into unexplored territories, it returns us to basic questions about the nature of art, "offering us a vision that is as fundamentally human as it is technically fresh", says Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times. So study the Digital Revolution if you want to get up to date with the story - and discover what will happen next.

What they don't like

This show is ambitious and the exhibits are astonishing, but at times it can veer close to a "tech industries trade fair", says Alastair Sooke in the Daily Telegraph. And while no one could fault the technology on display, much of the art seems gimmicky, weak and overly concerned with spectacle rather than meaning, or cultural comment.

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