Tom Riordan of Supergroup
In my view, and according to the lectures and preliminary research, an effective interaction based design installation is when subjects are engaged with their surroundings. Whether they are engaged in curiosity, playfulness, thought-provocation or repulsion, summoning one or all of these qualities is the mark of an installation's effectiveness.
In this brainstorming process, I've been most interested in focusing on the idea or concept of a piece, without spending too much time in this initial stage worrying about logistics and practicalities. This is a bridge we'll cross when we come to it (and since we're fast approaching, it's worth talking about that aspect too). I feel confident enough in my group member's and my own capabilities with creating images, handiwork and operating programs like Max/MSP and Photoshop to not feel limited by technicalities. If the concept is strong, it delivers a clear message and is engaging in one or all of the aforementioned ways, it will be an effective installation.
I am mostly interested in creating an installation with a message. We came to the consensus that an environmental message could be effective, prompted by the stark, brutal, cement-heavy architecture of the DAB building and the building's location (flanked by busy Harris St and Haymarket). It would be interesting to recontextualize an audience by providing a dislocating experience of clashing nature with the built environment.
We have been stimulated by the idea of a 'secret garden'. These, in my experience, conjure feelings of curiosity, and if we were effective in the execution, would satisfy one of my criteria of effectiveness. To further this, we want to incorporate interaction to create further depth in the piece.
We have been experimenting with camera tracking (namely blob tracking in Jitter) to acquire data about a person's co-ordinates within a space, which will correspond to a real-time image manipulation. We want to have a the public walk over a field of grass, flowers, shrubs etc., which leaves traces of their path in the image. The flowers will be trampled if someone walks at a certain pace, but they are rewarded for treading lightly or more slowly by the blossoming of new flowers.
I hope that the projected images will convey a sense of removal from ones literal physical space, and simulate a reinterpretation of genii loci. Interaction with one's environment can evoke playfulness or curiosity in a subject. By transforming one's awareness of their space in a familiar, urban setting to an innocent wonderland, I hope to achieve a fun and thought-provoking experience for passers-by.
Hopefully this will convey a message to the audience about the preciousness of our natural environment, particularly in its scarcity in Haymarket. This will be a secret garden that will command respect, but also reward people for treating it gently.
With regard to implementation, we've already begun to look at some practical hurdles. We are interested in using the space on level 4 of the DAB building to the left of the overpass from the Bon March building, outside the student services (with the sliding glass doors). This offers a moderately lit area, which would be appropriate for projections and interactions involving the control of light. Furthermore, it is virtually devoid of street noise, despite being so close to Harris St. The noise comes from pedestrians conversing and a lull of street sounds. This will aid our proposal to project the images (which will be overseen by the Photo Media students) of nature and all things organic. The Sound and Music Design students (Mitch, Yassin and I) will oversee the involvement of sound and most of the Max patching, due to our relative proficiency in the program.
Personally, I am looking forward to lending my knowledge of Max/MSP to the programming of this installation. After several S&MD assessments involving Max, I have begun to see the logic in the program and have begun to exploit the intuitive elements that make it so apt for situated media installations. I will have a roll of generally being the overseer of all of the Max patching to make sure it is operable and lends its application to the functionality of the project. Admittedly, Jitter is a facet of Max that i am not yet completely proficient in, so it will be a challenge to apply it to its full potential whilst still a novice. But hopefully the intuition of Max will translate into Jitter and the scaling, manipulation of data etc will be logical enough to translate.
I am confident that in a group with strong creative skills across the board we will be successful in delivering a positive message through our installation, and will provoke interest and thought. I am adamant that the concept is the most important thing in this assessment, and the delivery of it will be a means to an end. We have the resources to complete something inspiring in our team, lecturers and our technology - so we will be keen to put it to good use.