Art Installation 26/03/10

March 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm (Contemporary Art in the Public Realm)

Yesterday we had our art installation in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in UL. There were five groups from our interactive media class with each group using archive material and presenting it in an interesting and interactive way.
We choose to build musical chairs to add a fun element to our work.

The idea was that when somebody sat on one chair, the audio would be activated and the video would be projected in front of the chairs. Then if another person sat on the chairs more video and audio would join and so forth for the other two chairs. We wanted people to feel like they had control of what they were seeing and let them create their own vision. The nature of the video we created was very hypnotic and immersive and we felt had the ability to draw people in and really experience the archive material in a new way.

Technical Stuff….
To start we choose material both audio and video from the archives. We then manipulated the videos in Logic Pro to give them a kaleidoscopic feel. Here are a few examples….

We choose a flute, piano, harp and some vocals for our audio and blended them to interact with the video. The software used to do this was Max Msp. The next step was to build the Arduino, which would communicate between our chairs and the computer. Here’s Brian trying to attach the wires for the Arduino…

We had four chairs so four input/outputs on the Arduino. Each of the four wires on the Arduino went to each chair. We concealed cabling with duck tape and decorated it with piano keys.

Each chair had a concealed micro switch, which activated when pressure was applied. We used a spring loaded hole punch to ensure that the switch would activate but not be damaged when somebody sat on a chair.

These switches and hole punches were concealed using padding and decorated upholstery. The legs of the chairs were decorated with stencilled musical notes, white on black. We choose to place a UV light in front of the chairs to make the notes and piano keys standout.

The video was displayed using two projectors mounted on the wall behind. The use of two projectors really gave an extra dimension to our display as it spanned nearly the entire wall.

Some Thoughts….
The feedback we received from people was really positive. Children in particular loved the seats and kept bouncing from one to the other. They seemed enthralled by the video and kept trying to touch it.
Micheal O’Suilleabhain came to visit our exhibition and was very impressed by our installations. He enjoyed our audio so much he even started singing along with it, which we managed to capture on video! Link coming soon…
He suggested getting a piper to play along with our tracks or a contemporary dancer to add something extra to the experience. It was fantastic to see somebody of his calibre enjoying and getting involved with something we had created.
Overall we felt people really took delight in the whole experience with some people returning a few times to experience our installation again and again. This was great reinforcement that we had created something interactive, fun and interesting for people to see. The only downside was we could only keep it there for one day and taking down after that short time was kind of a let down. There is some consolation in the fact that we will get to display it again in a few months at the buildings official opening, so that’s something to look forward to…J

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