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Splashes of colour and interactivity are the focus of a new art piece at Southcentre mall

Hide and seek took on a new meaning at Southcentre mall as a new interactive art installation made its debut.

Dubbed Eat and Seek, this eye-catching splash of colour is part art piece, part interactive game with clues and words to find within the chromatic patterns. The kids can even test their hopscotch skills in a less-than-conventional court.

While flashy, the interactive nature is the part that sticks out.

Artist Nicole Wolf, one of the collaborators who worked on Eat and Seek, said making art that people only look at is one thing. But making art that the public physically interacts with requires a different way of thinking.

Eat and Seek features a crossword, hopscotch and, interactive shapes and symbols to find within the paint. ETHAN WARD / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Interactivity of the art

Wolf said one thing she’s struck by is people coming into contact with the actual painted surface.

“It’s not very often you get to physically run across the surface of the canvas. It’s a different experience trying to imagine what it’s like for someone to step into your work.”

For Wolf, the creation process for Eat and Seek was especially different. The hands-on work in front of the mall garnered a lot of attention from children and curious passersby.

“As an artist, most of my practice happens inside my studio. I don’t get to see people’s reaction to my work in real-time,” Wolf said.

“That is something that stands out with mural projects, but particularly this one because it was unexpected to have something beautiful in a parking lot.”

Wolf was instrumental in the creation but had help from Edmonton-based Studio Bramble and its creative director Chris Provins. As well as PARK, which helped curate the piece.

Eat and Seek helping locals

Eat and Seek is an opportunity for children to let their imaginations wander in a normally dull parking lot. But as Alexandra Velosa, marketing manager for Southcentre mall, said, it also gives local businesses and artists a chance to engage with the community and be supported by it.

“This space serves the dual purpose of bringing art to the mall but also being a spot for people to eat. But we didn’t want to just put some tables and chairs out by the side of the parking lot,” Velosa said.

“We wanted to have a space that was more fun and interactive that would drive people to seek it out.”

Eat and Seek features seating adorned with artistic flare. Essentially operating as an outdoor patio, it opened just as restrictions on outdoor patios were lifted by the province.

There was also a collaboration with the Alberta University of the Arts. One student’s art was chosen to be incorporated into the design.

Eat and Seek will be outside Southcentre mall until Sept. 1. After that, Velosa said that the mall is open to further collaborations that produce work like Eat and Seek.