Created for Lyon’s annual Festival of Lights, “Urban Flipper” projects a fully-playable pinball game onto the facade of a neo-classical theater

For those of us who grew up in arcades, there remains a level of attachment to pinball that is rarely replicated by other games. Invented in the 18th-century in, where else, France, pinball (née bagatelle) went from an aristocratic novelty to emblem of American pop jouissance in the post-war period, after the machine had been electrified and fitted with flippers. Its contemporary form helped shape a domain for the rising, increasingly autonomous youth by creating dynamic and flexible spaces exclusively suited to them, while the machine itself reconfigured the teen’s relationship with an expanding mechanized society. It was, in short, a unique interface different from radio, television and eventually the desktop computer in that it required the body to be alert and almost athletically poised.

With the digitalization of space, of course, that has all been changed. The noble mouse has even seen its day, its basic functionality made redundant by easier and more intuitive means of navigation. Instead, we have entirely digital environments, in which the material world, including our bodies and architecture, has been absorbed. Apart from the political and sociological implications of this reality, there has been a profusion of interactive installations which explore its more ludenic side. Created for Lyon’s annual Festival of Lights, “Urban Flipper” projects a fully-playable pinball game onto the facade of a neo-classical theater. What differentiates the installation from the admittedly now-over light projection fad is that the architecture itself informs the design of the game. Windows, balustrades, reliefs, and even the capitals of columns become bumpers for the virtual ball passing across the facade. It even bleeps and boinks like the real thing!

Lede image courtesy of YouTube user, Kefon.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Bicycle riders on a package-blocked bicycle lane
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. a photo of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in 2016.
    Transportation

    What Uber Did

    In his new book on the “Battle for Uber,” Mike Isaac chronicles the ruthless rise of the ride-hailing company and its founding CEO, Travis Kalanick.

  4. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  5. Life

    Why Do Instagram Playgrounds Keep Calling Themselves Museums?

    The bustling industry of immersive, Instagram-friendly experiences has put a new spin on the word museum.

×