Digital Arts & Creative Technology

Science meets Art meets Commuters at Crewe Station

SHIFT brings digital experiences to unusual and surprising spaces this March with the launch of Living Sculpture (Virtual), on Platform 6 at Crewe Station from Friday 10 March and offers the perfect antidote to busy travellers as they pass through the station.

This digital and interactive installation has been created by award-winning, Liverpool based artist Laurence Payot to encourage visitors to make intangible and emotional exchanges between themselves and the digital world. In this context, the station platform becomes a stage on which the passengers become both the audience and the participants who can then interact with the artwork, to make out-of-the-ordinary things happen in such an ordinary and everyday location.

“We are always looking to challenge traditional thinking and look at innovative ways to enhance our customers’ experience,” enthused Mark Taylor, Virgin Trains Station Manager for Crewe.

This new interactive sculpture invites the busy traveller to stop what they are doing for a moment, to escape the hustle and bustle of their journey and to engage with something surprising and creative. The installation invites the participant to place their hands within and bring a piece of drapery to life. It uses an old illusion technique (peppers’ ghost effect) to create a hologram and LEAP motion tracking to track the viewer’s hand movement. Dots, floating around like particles in space, are attracted by the viewer’s hands, dancing around the skin like magnetic organisms. When a second viewer joins in, they start to form a breathing piece of drapery, breathing with the participants movements, in an ever-changing shape. Interactive coded sound is also manipulated in the process.


image of child interacting with exhibit       Image of adult interacting with the exhibition

Images from Tate Exchange ‘The Alchemy Between Us’ by Laurence Payot. Photography by Robert Battersby


Living Sculpture (Virtual), is the result of a two-year collaboration with evolutionary scientists Ewan Minter and Pr. Michael Brockhurst at the University of York, exploring the symbiotic relationship between Laurence’s artworks and people. Together they explored how art can inspire science in its investigation around symbiosis – the notion of “living together”.

As the Artist explains: “Since I started to working in York together with the Ewan Minter and Pr. Michael Brockhurst, I have been thinking about how to create sculptures that can be a sort of host, and people could become symbionts who come to inhabit the sculptures. With this comes the idea that the sculptures wouldn’t just be still, they would start living and breathing with the people within them. I put the sculptures and people in a space and see what happens. What excited me most about showing the work in Crewe Station is the fact that strangers might come together for a moment to experience the work. I love places of transition, when you’re shifting from one place to another. This is also what the work is about: communication, connections, encounters.”

Creative Director Louise Shannon comments:  “We are delighted to be showing Laurence’s work as part of SHIFT.  From its interactive nature to its unexpected location at Crewe Station, it fits perfectly with our overarching ambition and aim – to celebrate and create digital discoveries for all in unusual places, making digital work more accessible and putting it at the heart of all innovation in Cheshire East.”

       hands interact with exhibit

Images from Tate Exchange ‘The Alchemy Between Us’ by Laurence Payot. Photography by Robert Battersby


Living Sculpture (Virtual), opens on Platform 6 Waiting Room at Crewe Station from Friday 10 March- Friday 7 April from 9am-6pm daily (except: 19 March, 1 April, closes 4pm on 4 April), and you can join the artist and Creative Director In Conversation on 16 March from 4-5pm, call 07580 860070 to join reserve your place.