Royal Holloway has teamed up with artist Madi Boyd and composer Nye Parry to create an intriguing new exhibition called Digital Forest which will open to the public on April 24, 2018.
Royal Holloway’s cognitive scientist, Professor Polly Dalton, has helped to create this multi-sensory indoor forest, complete with digital images and recorded sounds, to focus on the notion that natural environments can restore people’s mental resources and help them focus their attention.
The exhibition will use sculptural forms, tactile experiences and multiple projections and is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, where science and art meet to create a research paper on people’s behaviour in calming surrounds.
To help with the creative study, students will take part by being measured on their attention span before and after walking through the Digital Forest, to see if after their walk they are more alert and focused.
It’s also hoped the exhibition will give students a calm place to take a break during exam season by interacting with the environment.
The new display will be available to view for free until 14 July, 2018 in the university’s Emily Wilding Davison Building. It is hoped that the exhibition will tour the UK, starting at Bristol Science Museum later this summer.
Professor Polly Dalton said: “Spending time in nature can help us concentrate and Digital Forest has been designed to have similar effects.
“We will be running a series of experiments to test the psychological impacts of the installation which could be very useful for our students who are currently revising hard for their summer exams.
“Perhaps the chance to pop into Digital Forest during their breaks will help them focus on their work.
“The research will also help us understand the benefits that art can bring to people's everyday lives.”
Madi Boyd, added: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to take over and transform the large exhibition space at Royal Holloway.
“I hope visitors will enjoy losing themselves in our forest and emerge feeling like they have experienced the sublime effect that a real forest has on the senses.”