How We See & Play

An interactive lighting installation that explores the question of how we see, understand, and play with our environment. The rice paper panels are triggered by the participants motion in front of them. Passive infrared sensors gave the wall an unexpectedly organic response time. When the participant waves at the wall there is an almost thoughtful pause before the wall signals back. 

The project grew into its final form through several experiments. Mainly I just watched people play with it. The discovery process was fascinating. The wall is not as polished and precise as many of the devices people are used to using. There are no buttons. It's really just a wall. Some people would understand right away that it was motion activated but many people had to explore, some would try yelling at it or stomping thinking it was sound controlled. My goal was to keep the discovery process moving. Once people figured out how it worked I wanted the wall to change things up, keep them guessing and discovering. In a sense the wall and the audience began to play a game together.

The installation was controlled using a Make Controller and MaxMSP. It's behavior would run through several different modes based on the amount of activity it recieved. When a player first "meets" the wall it will react as expected in a learning/exploratory phase. Example: Wave at light 1, light one turns on. After several successful light activations that traverse the wall it will then begin to react in a way opposite to what the audience has grown to expect. Example: Person waves at the light on the right and the light on the left is triggered. Mode 3 has the wall moving the player around to complete tasks. Example: The Light on the left activates and waits for the player to turn it off by waving, reversing the cause/effect learned in mode 1.