Conception of- and contribution to an interactive light installation for light-festival GLOW Eindhoven 2016. Through six months of work, varying from conceptual thinking to programming the installation, we developed an art installation that was viewed by 740.000 people visiting the festival.
Every day, people use technology to get in contact with each other. Just think of phone calls, text messages or Skype conversations. And only recently, social media unleashed completely new ways of communication again. All technological links we use to make contact, influence the way we communicate and subsequently our social behaviour. But, what kind of influence are we talking about? And, how does this reflect our own behaviour?
The interactive installation ‘Intermedia’ explores the influence of technology as a link in human interaction. It does this by digitally “linking” two people on opposite sides of a screen, and allowing them to interact through the screen. By changing the medium, we change the message. This is why we created three separate visualisation effects, to see how people would react differently.
Intermedia works on a seriously complicated hardware- and software stack: for every one of the three installations, we hooked up 4 Kinect sensors to 2 computers (one computer couldn’t handle all the Kinect data fast enough) running a Processing sketch and communicating with each other over a local network. They output to 2 beamers, a light ring around the screens, and an audio installation that randomly generated music based on the interactions that were happening. All this needs to run simultaneously on 3 separate installations, each with a completely custom designed visualisation.
The size of the project grew quickly and ambitiously, and getting all pieces of the software to work was a serious feat. Not only did we spent many hours on getting the effects just right (often going from programming to dancing in front of the sensors to test them), we also had to make the two computers exchange data, so that visitors could walk seamlessly from the left to the right side of the screen, and learn object oriented programming to make the amount of objects we had to program even somewhat manageable.
After months of work and a stressful week demonstrating to the public, we were one of the crowd favourites, receiving the highest rating in the GLOW app. On top of that, this project taught me an unbelievable amount of programming knowledge, and will remain one of my most memorable projects for a long time.