Magnetic Pull - An Immersive Audiovisual Installation where we control the animation by moving our hands in the Air using #LeapMotion while making Live Sounds — for The Brewery Art Walk Fall 2017 @ The Creative Technology Center 🔊
It was fun, learned a lot, met new beings. Thank you to all of you who participated. 📽
Big Thanks 2 Sana, Jen, Michael & Don.
Special thanks to the Creative Technology Center.
Shoutout to Charlie & Hector for poppin’ up !
#WillpowerStudios #Audiovisual #immersive #InteractiveArt #AudiovisualArt #ProjectionArt #ImmersiveEnvironment #color #SciFi #CreativeCodingLA #proce55ing #CreativeCoding #ArtInstallation #codedArt #ArtTech #generative #generativeArt #LeapMotion #AudiovisualInstallation #InteractiveInstallation (at Los Angeles, California)
Before last week’s class, I looked into whether any research had been done on people’s awareness of how much they use technology. I couldn’t really find anything, which surprised me: I expected to find quite a lot, and be able to use that to further inform this whole why revolving around control over technology.
What I did find was a lot of very negative media about technology - combined with the phrase titling this post, it seems the media is constantly pushing the idea that technology undermines social interaction. However, there was research going both ways. A study showed that when couples spoke with phones present, they tended to fiddle with the phone and seemed to be a bit distracted. When phones weren’t present, they rated the quality of the conversations, and the level of empathy much higher.
On the other hand, I found some studies that successfully implemented technology in public spaces to improve social interaction. ‘Fish Pong’, a game that is started automatically when a user places their coffee cup on a table, gets people spontaneously interacting to keep a projected fish from falling off the table. In other cases, large installations, like an interactive wall, are found to have a ‘honeypot’ effect: people will gather around them, and once there, the strangers interacting will end up chatting.
So the thing is: why are we vaguely talking about ‘technology’ in this way?
Yet, I found suddenly realized a problem with this. The term technology is so insanely broad! There’s no point arguing whether tech is good or bad because a) its here, and not going away and b) WHICH technology? We should think about when tech is bad, yes, but also when and how technology can be good.
In the context of a bar, a social environment, we should be thinking about how we can use tech to improve that social experience. This is the key reason people go to a bar- yes food and drink is important, but you can get that at home too - the social atmosphere is the key. In this space, technology that takes you OUT of the moment, that connects you to the external (the internet, people you are texting) is negative to the social experience. Technology that helps you better ENGAGE with the current environment - either assisting interactions with the people you came to the bar with, or to meet new people there, is positive. According to the authors of the ‘fish pong’ study, the advantage of these tech interventions is that they can get people interacting the way kids do! ‘Play first, talk later’. They break the ice, they get past any cultural barriers, so you can be having fun, and interacting spontaneously, then get to know each other after.
I think that interventions within this bar then, need to keep this in mind. They should be trying to improve interactions with either 1) people who already know each other 2) strangers in the bar. And they should do this by 1) Discouraging people from using their phones to connect to external, 2) Smoothing, assisting natural interactions between people (eg a system to get server’s attention so you don’t have to be distracted from a conversation to order a drink) 3) Encouraging people to interact WITHIN the space (eg honeypot, or things that only work with multiple people).
Unfortunately, despite presenting this research in a team meeting last Tuesday, it didn’t seem the art directors decided to use the information. Then, in class on Thursday, when I spoke about this, I felt that the interventions people started to present did not reflect this concept (some, like the twitter wall, went in the opposite direction). Hopefully, this week we can do better.