Disco Puppy is an energetic interactive installation for children (and parents) which stars three larger than life dancing puppies: Pup Daddy, a smooth dancing hip-hop Chihuahua; Miss Kitty, a somewhat confused but still “pretty in pink” Maltese/Silky cross; and DJ Foxy, the Miniature Fox Terrier who may not have the moves, but certainly can play the tunes!
Disco Puppy aims to encourage creative play through active movement and dance. The installation is designed to support 1 through to 50 players, depending on the size of the installation space (1 person per square metre, is optimal for children to enjoy a safe experience). It is just as fun to play alone as it is to play in a group. This open nature of the work provides opportunities for interaction between the players, yet does not require this for a player to have fun.
Where space permits, a separate area for a range of other art and craft activities and events can also be included in the exhibition.
The installation space is reminiscent of a real disco or dance club space, modified to suit the interests of children. Each puppy performs one of 9 animated dance moves when children activate pressure sensitive mats positioned under colourful carpet squares. Pressure on each mat also activates unique sounds, which can be combined to contribute to the funky disco tunes played by DJ Foxie. There are three tunes, one to suit each puppy, which are remixed constantly by software on a computer controlling the DJ Foxie animation. This music was composed by well respected electronic dance musician Phil Thomson.
Children and Parents Playing in the Disco Puppy Installation at the Ipswich Art Gallery.
“Interact with art in your very own disco party with Disco Puppy. Your simple dance movements affect the moves of three life sized Disco dancing puppies. Dance movements also trigger the colourful disco lights and create funky disco tunes.
Disco Puppy aims to encourage creative play through which child learn about them selves, other people and their environment. It will also assist in developing children’s motor skills and stimulate their imaginations. Included in the experience are art-making activities, parent prompts and interpretive labels.” (From Ipswich Art Gallery brochure 2005)
Disco Puppy stars three larger then life puppies : Pup Daddy, a smooth dancing hip-hop Chihuahua; Miss Kitty, a somewhat confused but still “pretty in pink” Maltese/Silky cross; and DJ Foxy, the Miniature Fox Terrier who may not have the moves, but certainly can play the tunes!
Pup Daddy, Miss Kitty, and DJ Foxie are Disco Puppy!
The Disco Puppies have entertained thousands of children and parents since their debut at the Ipswich Gallery in November 2005, with over 14 000 visitors to the exhibition at Ipswich Art Gallery, and 34 000 visitors at the Warrnambool Fun 4 Kids Children’s Festival…
- Disco Puppy: Stayin’ Alive Art Gallery – 22 November 2008 – 1 February 2009
- Warrnambool Fun 4 Kids Children’s Festival July 1 to July 8 2007.
- Ipswich Art Gallery 26th of November 2005 to 29th of February 2006
- Kick Arts in Cairns 7th of July to the 12th of August 2006 as part of the On Edge festival of Contemporary media arts and performance.
- Townsville City Library 4th of September to December 2006
For more information on Disco Puppy and it’s technical requirements please have a look at the Disco Puppy information brochure. This document outlines what is involved in hosting Disco Puppy, and will answer many questions you may have about whether it is suitable for your venue or festival.
If you would like to discuss this project or make a booking, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Behind the scenes
No puppies were hurt, or distressed during the making of Disco Puppy. In fact, they all seemed to rather enjoy themselves!
The stars were pampered, spent lots of time playing and were fed lots of liver-strip doggie treats (yum?).
Disco Puppy provides a number of opportunities for innovative public programming activities engaging both parents and children. These activities should be conducted in a space next to the installation. This will enable children and parents to play whilst they catch their breath after playing with what is a very energetic game. As such Disco Puppy can be viewed as a catalyst for enlivening a gallery space, and for creative play and learning.
Craft Table: Parents and children making Disco Accessories at Ipswich Art Gallery
At the Ipswich Art Gallery, children were encouraged to make funky disco accessories (tiaras, belts, bracelets etc) at craft tables filled with enticing materials such as thread-able pompoms, foil, fluorescent card, and cellophane. Sunglasses similar to those worn by the puppies were printed on card for children to decorate and wear. Creations were displayed the gallery wall, or taken home to enjoy.
When children (and parents) needed a rest, they could lounge on beanbags in the space and read story books about puppies and dancing. Special events, such as a family fun day to promote the exhibition, were also included in the public program.
The public programming is a critical element of the exhibition’s success. The art-making activities extended the time each visitor spent in the exhibition space, promoted learning, and provided opportunities parent/child interaction and play.
Disco Puppies was initiated and commissioned by the Ipswich Art Gallery. The characters and the installation were developed and created by Kuuki.
To produce Disco Puppies, Priscilla and Gavin collaborated with musician Phil Thomson, programmer Glenn Wetherall, and Aaron Veryard, an electrical engineer. Many aspects of the available public program were developed by the Ipswich Art Gallery, which has generously allowed its ideas to be used in other contexts.