After demonstrating a basic ‘play’ version of my proposed visual sculpture, I received some helpful feedback.
Here is a clip of the prototype being demonstrated:
I will attempt to summarise my impression of the feedback here:
Firstly, the transition from ‘no interference’ to ‘full interference’ is not dramatic enough. The screens move from one type of disorientation to another and as a result the sense of contrast is lacking.
One solution to this would be to play with ‘off states’ and static images. Several of the monitors might be off unless somebody is nearby. When they turn on they might ‘grab’ an image and come to life gradually as the user approaches. I plan to start playing with tensions between the projected and the static.
Somebody mentioned that the project seemed like it was attempting to reveal to the participant their greatest fears. This reminded me of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker which depicted a place called ‘the Zone’ where ‘tourists’ could be smuggled inside to experience a mysterious ‘other’ intelligence. It was ambiguous what the nature of the communication was, but the experience of this ‘Zone’ seemed to cause an existential fissure for these morbidly curious tourists. This is worth keeping in mind for further concept development and I consider this to be another way of exploring a related idea. Sounds like it is time to finally read the original novel on which the film is based (Roadside Picnic).
A common criticism was that the interactivity needs to be developed to make the concept of ‘communicating with the machine’ clearer and more purposeful.
One potential solution to this would be to incorporate a Kinect sensor and incorporate user movement data into the projections.
There was a positive feedback with respect to the custom fabricated projection screens. However, the front projection technique restricts straight-forward interaction.
This might be embraced as a constraint with the aid of a light sensor. A computer could be set up to be notified when the projection is interrupted. This could trigger another interaction or be countered by a rear projection.
Questions of rear or front projection aside, I plan to continue prototyping projection surfaces and screen options that could be used for the installation.
Others mentioned that it would be nice to be able to ‘touch’ the screen.
Mike Sherwood and Mike Allison’s Firewall is a worthy reference for its use of stretched spandex sheets and rear projection mapping to create an interactive surface.
This type of interaction could be a great fit for my project, however I imagine that it might be difficult to cleanly communicate to the users that they can ‘touch’ the monitors.