Born and raised in North India, Abhiruchi Chhikara moved to Australia to undertake undergraduate studies in Robotics and Mechatronics. After just a few years working as a Mechanical Engineer, Abhiruchi felt creatively unsatisfied. Having always had a keen interest in design, she decided to change gears and follow her passion for design, art, cognitive science and technology and enrol in the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts at the University of Sydney.
This course gave me the perfect opportunity to use both my interest and skill set
During her Masters, Abhiruchi started working as a Product Developer at IDE, where she worked primarily designing medical devices, taking ideas from conception through to prototype. After graduation, she made the bold decision to pack her bags and move to the other side of the world to undertake a Design Research Residency at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID).
Upon returning home to Wollongong, Abhiruchi began to pursue opportunities to use her skills more creatively. “I really wanted to create art from technology. I found out about the Creative Dialogues Program run by Wollongong Council, which gave me insight into how to develop my art practice. I started making electronic art for local exhibitions in Wollongong and secured an Artist Residency which lead to a 5 project Public Art Program with Wollongong Council.”
The fifth project in the interactive series, Light up Skatepark, is set to take place this Saturday 1st December at Wollongong’s Berkeley skatepark. In her role as organiser and curator, Abhiruchi feels the event is not only a platform to showcase her work, but an opportunity to boost the profile of electronic arts and give artists a platform to create work for.
“We have 3 main local visual artists including myself, and 3 electronic musicians creating work and performing for the event. My work will be interactive, I like to create experiences that people can enjoy through simple yet responsive interactions. My work is very simple it is a digital ball pit that Skaters can ride through and mess up.”
Three projects by students from the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts program have also been selected for the event. “These projects were of very high quality and fit into the space easily. The first one is a wearable device that skaters can wear and create music as they skate, the next one is an interactive skateboard to assist in learning how to skate and lastly, a playful projection that takes snapshots of skaters as they skate and do tricks and then projects their silhouette for everyone to see,” explains Abhiruchi.
Light up the Skatepark is on Saturday 1st December, 7pm. Register for your free ticket.