If you had a time machine…what would you do? That was the question the Kimmel Center posed to artists and art lovers alike during its 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). Inspired by the relativity of time and the collaborative nature of human history, this theme guided the month-long celebration of fine arts and culture.
At the entrance of this interactive installation, a spiraled tunnel, 100 feet long and 16 feet wide, invited visitors to step inside and experience time travel. Flashing lights, changing colors, and ambient sounds adjusted to the movements of every participant, connecting them all through time and space.
This journey through time continued at the end of the tunnel with a set of interactive kiosks.
Created by NewQuest in close collaboration with the PIFA team, the interface of these kiosks allowed visitors to see how their lives fit into a larger timeline — how they themselves are connected to the rest of humanity.
The 24-inch touchscreens allowed visitors to enter basic information — birthdays, hometowns, and email addresses — as well as select topics of interest to them. With these details, the Time Machine generated a personalized timeline for each visitor.
A seven-year-old boy who loves outer space could learn about the discoveries that were made 25, 50, or 100 years before the year he was born. A 45-year-old woman interested in politics could read about world leaders who came to power only a month after her birthday.
And everyone could see their age in days, an exact count of the time they’d spent on Earth (so far, at least).
The Time Machine provided a new way of looking at history: as a collaborative experience, where every individual is connected to everyone else in the past, present, and future.
Plus, thanks to futuristic graphics and an emphasis on a dynamic user experience, this innovative exhibit truly immersed visitors in their journey through time.
You can still check out the PIFA Time Machine for yourself here. (NOTE: You may have to adjust your display options so that the interface fits on your screen.)
Time travel may not exist (yet!), but with the Time Machine, you can discover how you are already a part of history.