Posts in the Studio:Interactivity category

I set up my program in the 10th floor DT lab to see how my peers might interact with the “slit scan” visuals. This user testing was not including the “clicking” interaction. I simply wanted to see how they would respond to the aesthetic visuals of the program, wondering if they found it interesting and engaging.

User Testing from Adam Scher on Vimeo.

Friday April 30, I sat in on two of the different symposium talks from the graduating MFA DT class. The two talks, “Tangible Interfaces” and “Storytellers”, allowed the students to share about their creative process about the work they have made over the past 2 semesters. It was nice to hear the artist’s insight about their work after having viewed the pieces the night prior. Below is just a quick response on the presentations I saw.

Joon Moon – Augmented Shadow
Using an interactive table top and blocks with QR codes, Moon creates an environment which places with an idea of lights and shadows. Through moving these blocks a series of house and moved around the surface. People come out of the house and walk to the light source to carry back to their homes. While the interactivity is fantastic, I was hoping to learn more about his choice of content through his presentation.

Denise Flasz – Intangible
With a desire to create something tangible from the intangible, Flasz constructed a sculpture which responds to electro-kinetic waves (mostly cellphone waves and wifi signals). The sculpture itself was beautifully constructed at out translucent plexiglass, which allows the reflections of light to constantly change. However, when I originally saw this piece I had no idea that the viewers was suppose to make a phone call right next to the sculpture. This intended interactivity was not conveyed.

Thai Le – Uncover Geology
I wish that I was able to explain this project, but even after an extensive presentation which included both animations, a user demo, and video of the project in action, I am still not quite sure what the project does or intends to accomplish. I did appreciate his iterative process, creating prototypes in different modalities (i.e.: interactive surface graph, games, real simulations) but I feel that the presentation needed to be more clear and concise.

Cecilia Elguero – Wonder Garden
Elguero’s questions regarded the integration between computation and non-tradition mediums such as paper, felt, and porcelin. Through simple circuitry and technology, she was able to bring life to little objects and characters that were crafted out of these softer mediums. I was in love with the aesthetic of her work. I found it to be whimsical and beautifully crafted. However, similar to Denise Flasz, there was no indication that the work was to be touched. Perhaps it was because it was presented in formal gallery, and viewers are conditioned not to touch, but there needed to be an entrance for the viewer, so that they knew it was ok to interact on a physical level with the piece.

Yoav Schlenzinger – Ultimate Happy
Schlezinger’s short film explores the theme of escapism in the sub gay culture of circuit parties. His choice to create a fictional documentary based off of structured improvisations seems to have worked in his favor, as he attempts to create a realistic view into this world of sex, drugs, and dancing. After viewing this short this past weekend, I appreciated his different editing techniques which helped to drive the story and accentuate the themes.

Daniel Cashin – Everyone Knows the Song
This short documentary explores post traumatic stress disorder in an Iraqi war veteran from New York City. Chasin spoke about the importance of having a character that the audience was able to empathize with, thus making the difficult subject matter easier to take in. One very poignant thing said by one of the critiques, was that the short emphasized the message that “Everyone IS a story” rather than the typical “Everyone HAS a story”.

Iker Orozco – Zeviathan
I was very excited to see this piece after Orozco’s talk on Friday. It was amazing to think that this entire production was created on an extremely low budget, and that all the post production work was done on his laptop. Orozco spoke about the future of independent film making, and how he believes that this type of “DIY” film making will soon become the norm. I thought his piece was very well done. The fact that he took on a period piece only further exemplifies Orozco’s attention to detail and expertise.

Thinking about the way in which the exhibition space would be set up is as important to me in this process. Even though the interactivity between my viewer and the installation needs to be functional and in line with my concept, the context in which I present it will shape the over all user experience. Over the past week, I have been sketching both in my sketch book and in photoshop to develop a variety of potential setups for how this exhibition could exist. Initially I was thinking of the interaction being a two way conversation, having two webcams, computers, and screens, showing one viewer the image of the other. After a lot of consideration I felt that this wasn’t necessary. I eventually decided that I wanted one viewer to be active (clicking the mouse) and the other viewer to be passive (viewing the sliced images of the active viewer). I also thought of the idea of being blatantly obvious with how I want the viewer to interact with my piece. By placing the words “PLEASE CLICK” I feel I am commenting on our innate desire to not only touch things, but also to constantly share information digitally. Below are some of the sketches of the space.

The Slice

So after some fantastic feedback I realized that the content of my work was not working. As much I liked the visual aesthetics of the “tixel pits” photographs, they were not supporting my overall concept. However, the sketch that I made which revealed the image, pushed me in a new direction. I begin thinking about revealing images one pixel at time. In a sense, our digital representations (like when we video chat online) are just  a series of lines of pixels. I wanted to extract a single “slice” of data and represent that over time.

In a sense turning a video shot like this (below) into this (below):

Screen shot 2010-04-28 at 12.06.33 PMslice

The next step was to begin working on the programming. I decided to use openFrameworks, as I am current in a class where I am learning that language. I thought it would be a great opportunity to put into practice the skills that I am learning. Ideally the functionality would be, that the webcam is picking up a slice of the user, and every time the user clicks the size of the slice gets larger, thus revealing more of themselves. If the user dosen’t click, the size of the slice goes back to one pixel. Unfortunately, coding this is not as easy as I thought and I am left with a broken program.

So My Code Doesn’t Work from Adam Scher on Vimeo.

So in response to this, I decided to draft up a mock up version of the code in After Effects, just to see what this type of functionality could potentially look like.

Slit Scan Hack in After Effects from Adam Scher on Vimeo.