A touch of art: Interactive Annapolis exhibit (Capital Gazette Article)

The following is an article by Sarah Hainesworth featured in the July 2015 Capital Gazette

Not many artists want people to step on or even touch their work.

But Leo Hylan encourages it.

His exhibit, "Inner Activity," open Friday only at ArtFarm in Annapolis, invites viewer interaction.

"I've been yelled at in museums for getting too close to paintings, so this show is my desire to break that," Hylan said. "Each piece is meant to get the audience to touch and feel."

A teacher at Annapolis High School and a graduate student at Goucher College, he's studying digital art and created "Inner Activity" for his thesis.

The exhibit consists of nine interactive pieces which reflect on social media or encourage viewer participation.
One part of the exhibit is a floor board that must be stepped on to generate an image on a wall.

"There's actually a microphone under there and when you touch that, the mic tells the computer, 'Make this video happen,'" he said.

Article by Sarah Hainesworth from the Capital Gazette, July 2015

Not many artists want people to step on or even touch their work.

But Leo Hylan encourages it.

His exhibit, "Inner Activity," open Friday only at ArtFarm in Annapolis, invites viewer interaction.

"I've been yelled at in museums for getting too close to paintings, so this show is my desire to break that," Hylan said. "Each piece is meant to get the audience to touch and feel."

A teacher at Annapolis High School and a graduate student at Goucher College, he's studying digital art and created "Inner Activity" for his thesis.

The exhibit consists of nine interactive pieces which reflect on social media or encourage viewer participation.

Once it does, an image appears that reads "Do Not Stand Here."

Another part of the exhibit generates a wall canvas that can be drawn on using an infrared pen.

"You can paint on the wall," Hylan said. "The cool thing is when the projector turns off, the wall will be white."

He incorporated Twitter into the exhibit with a live news feed that updates when an attendee tweets about the exhibit using #inneractivity.

He also has a video of screen shots of Twitter posts during the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

"Over the first 24 hours of the riot, I stayed on Twitter and just watched what was going on. I collected all of the images and looked at the top 10 images," he said.

Audio of news reports accompanies the video, and an audio docent guides guests through each piece of the exhibit. The show also makes use of smart board technology, which allows a viewer to paint using just a finger.

It took Hylan about six months to complete the pieces in the exhibit, but he encourages others to try digital projects.

"Anyone can be creative with new digital tools and it's that creativity that's necessary as we become more and more active in social networking and new media in order to understand each other," he said.