PComp Final Project brainstorm
I've had some thoughts about a few final projects that I'm outlining below. I think the common themes are "hope for the future," "communal vulnerability," "softness," and "nostalgia" perhaps inspired by wanting to find a lot of that myself in a fairly brutal media climate, as well as trying to find pleasure in the work I create here to help alleviate the stress :p
Project Idea 1: Phone Message from our Future Self
Application: Motivation, communication, hope (expressive/educational/instrumental)
What does the person do? Interacts with an automated phone operator to access a message from the future
Draft idea: A simple old dial pad telephone rings when it senses someone close by. Picking up the phone triggers a phone operator (this also means the interaction can be triggered even if someone picks up without the phone ringing first) which prompts the person to dial any three numbers , which thusly triggers a recording of a message from the future. Messages would be crowdsourced before the show and turned into sound files, and would be randomly generated based on the number inputs (maybe adding the three numbers and creating booleans to dictate which set of audio arrays to choose a message from). People would hear other people's messages from their future selves. If I knew how to store recordings and have them process directly into the code I would also let people leave messages. Maybe it's two phones in the future, one for leaving messages and the other for receiving.
Project Idea 2: Safety Blanket
Application: Combination of physical and psychological comfort, nostalgia (expressive/instrumental)
What does the person do? Accesses comfort in a small installation
Draft idea: A person is presented with a chair, a "tv", a "radio" and a blanket with metal snap closures (maybe more like a fleece cape). The blanket is draped around their shoulders and each snap is a switch that triggers different media of nostalgia and comfort: the first would trigger a montage of visual memories on a "tv" screen, the second would trigger a sound collage from the "radio" and the final snap would trigger a localized vibration, warmth, pressure (something) in between the shoulder blades of the upper back. Inspiration comes from therapeutic robots.
Project Idea 3: Soft Lab Sign
Application: Branding for the Soft Lab, which I love dearly (expressive/educational?)
What does the person do? They are greeted and oriented
Draft idea: A responsive installation made out of soft materials that "acknowledges" people entering the Soft Lab space that also quickly relays what the Soft Lab is all about. Output would be a delightful and nuanced surprise, with components that softly glow, slightly move toward the viewer in a way that makes the sign seem alive/aware of them. It's easier to explain this via inspirations, which are Jim Henson's The Labyrinth where everything physical is also a critter, tip o' the hat to Danny's fuzzy mirror, sea anemones, Alice in Wonderland.
Bonus Moonshot Idea: A production
Application: Stage performance where interaction is a key role
What does the person do? Choreography of some performative media for an audience
My mind naturally wanders this way coming from a deeply weird performance community. I call it a moonshot because I thusly know how productions happen and achieving that without a clear idea and prep time would be a miracle if I started... last week. (Though the gesture-controlled sample maker Tom referenced gives me hope). Media triggers whether in the space or on the body are what first come to mind, but that feels like it could easily become a new way to do an old reliable thing (the "never give an actor a real light switch, you cue the lights" quote was a great summarization). I think the seed I'm trying to plant for myself is something I can create as a performance device, not something that is spontaneous or specific to the ephemeral one-time performance or production run.
That's where I'm at right now, going to try to sketch/map the ideas loosely so I can feel out the reality of these projects a little bit before I start anything, and I am also looking forward to hearing other ideas to see how pieces of my own might fit or evolve within a collaborative project! Any suggestion toward people who might be playing with similar themes/ideas welcome.