Archive for the ‘Process’ Category

The demo

July 30, 2006

demo

In late June I recreated Attention Please in demo form for Richard Willacy, from Birmingham Opera Company, who I met at the diffraction conference who was interested in the performative side of the project and the use of technology.
We had a really interesting discussion about how to use technology in a performative and participatory capacity for which I feel there is very little conclusion and there is as much of an emphasis on the context you create as how you use the technology.

I hope our discussion helped Richard with his research, I’m looking forward to finding out what paths they take! Here is some text given to me by Richard about the research project and the company.

The research project is for Birmingham Opera Company, where Richard is the Associate Director, headed by Graham Vick. The company produces high quality ‘participatory’ opera which stands alongside the solely ‘professional’ national companies and thus for example winning South Bank Show Award for Best Opera and well as RPS Award for New Audience Development. Birmingham Opera are interested to find new tools which enable a greater access and ‘investment’ in opera by established and new audiences, to explore new ways of communicating with new audiences who may be present in the performance venue or in remote locations via broadcast media for projects in 2007 and beyond.

The project also continues work Richard did as Artist in Residence at www.asterisk.org.uk into uses of new media with non linear narrative, some of that research will be used for a new media collaboration called Creating Space.

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Attention Informer

May 23, 2006

timeline

Using the model of the Attention Seeker a tool bar appears once swiped to inform a viewer the current point in the duration of the film.

Like the Attention Seeker we made for the experiment, it could discreatly fade in and out at the bottom of the screen, show the duration of the video and indicate through the timeline bar what stage the video is at when you swipe. Because the unique identification number on the card for this application is not required, it would be possible to use cheaper, lower frequency tags and readers, or even use this function inconjunction with others.

This idea also goes hand in hand with, Attention (Re)Starter, where the swipe actually takes you to the beginning of the film. The problem with this idea is the same as the egg timers you get in sauna's, if it has been started before you, you need to wait either until others have left or until its ready to start again anyway. But maybe if the reader could see everyone enter and exit the screening space, it would know if you were alone and know if it were able to restart the video.

How long do you give a video…

May 23, 2006

before you more on?

 stopwatch

Also as part of the discussion at Loop was the challenge and commitment that video requires of its audience, to watch each work through its full duration would take days, by which time you either can't remember anything you've seen, or your eyes are so tired and craving daylight you couldn't care less. So its important to be selective for your sanity's sake – but with a durational medium some things just do take time. Marc Spiegler who was mentoring the discussion told us he has been speaking to Christian Jankowski about this and together they had decided that you should give a video 3mins before you move on.

Then there's the idea of a screening programme, where video's could be screened in a predetermined order at a predetermined time in more 'appropriate' setting (by appropriate I mean dark space, comfortable seating, quality projection and sound) – more like cinema or theatre, when you enter the experience with some sort of commitment to staying and watch items from the beginning to the end.

But one thing your audience needs is information, when you walk into a installation space one thing you need to know is the duration of the film, to give you a context of whether those 3mins you are going to watch are at the beginning, middle or end of the movie.

This is where my RFID project could be a solution…

What did we learn?

May 15, 2006

exhibpic

I've been taking my time to process what happened at the experiment, we had lots of feedback verbally from people at the time, their comments on this blog, and the stats we collected from the Attention Grabber. But here's some responses.

Power
People have been talking about control and the feeling of power that the card gave them. The notion of power is not something I had realised people would attach to the cards and the action of swiping. It was a conscious decision to make people feel an attachment to this card that they were being told was THEIR attention, and I felt it was important that people were part of a process. This was my method of getting the audience to participate in something that could have been quite an alien action.
Control
A number of people spoke about the idea of control. Questioning if the video is controlling you or are you controlling it? And the answer is both, the video was only changing when it received attention but it had certain conditions to fulfill before it would react.
The idea of control was a cyclical motion between viewer and viewed. It was this notion of presence, that I was trying to recreate/represent.
Interaction!????!
So I asked, "Did you feel like you were interacting?". My intention was to find out what people's response was to the idea of interaction, and in many ways I wanted the answer to be "no". But by posing the question, maybe it's my fault for misleading people into thinking about the experiment in the same terms as another interaction work.But people's perceptions of what interaction is, where the viewer does something and you get an immediate obvious reaction response, seemed to tarnish quite a number of people's experiences, because when they gave their attention they expected to get a return, and it seems the response of the acknowledgment of their attention (their photograph, name, time-stamp) was not enough.
Experiment/Research/Installation
Also I think people forgot that this was a research project rather than a completed artwork. It needed to be a professional setting for people to engage with the process properly – but this lead to some people having expectations of the content they were watching and giving responses to this rather than the issues of their live presence in the installation and its effect on the art.

Basic Stats

May 8, 2006

ap graph

I've spent my weekend trying to make sense of all the data we recorded at the experiment. I've been building graphs (well trying to remember how to build graphs), some of which make no sense but look nice and others that just make me want to do more complicated things!

We were open for 8hrs over two afternoons and we received over 20 hours of attention! and 3213 attention hits.
The average duration of an Attention givers visit was 13.5mins.
Giving an average 36 attention hits.

si graph

This is a graph of Simon's attention hits, showing the screen, the time intervals of hits and hit counts (this is one of the groovy yet uninformative graphs!).

Please give us your feedback!

May 3, 2006

attention

Firstly I'd like to thank you for coming, for paying attention and for taking part in our experiment.

Secondly, I'd like to ask you to give us some feedback. It's really important for us to know what you think of the installation.

Here are some questions to help you, please leave your response in the comment box below.

  1. Do you feel you were interacting with the videos?
  2. If yes, did this interaction enhance your experience?
  3. Do you think your attention was being rewarded?
  4. Do you think the technology used enhanced your experience?
  5. Have you enjoyed your visit today?
  6. Why did you come here today?
  7. Anything else you'd like to say?

Thank you for your help!

Hanging Screens

May 2, 2006

Sara on MEWP
The screens that Sara will be using for the video are double sided 2 meter square rear projection screens hand made using Screen Goo at FACT.  Sara and Nick are hanging them right now.  Sara's riding around on a MEWP – a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (a TM 12 to be precise).  After the screens are up and aligned, there's just the projectors to align, & speakers to hang. Then there's the computers to hook up, and then to make it all look pretty.

Tags: rfid, , , , , , , , .

Early morning exercise

May 2, 2006

sofaremoval

Setup Day 2 started with some rather physical sofa removal work.  We are preparing the space at the Box, in FACT.  FACT has many special design features some are obvious to the visiting public, some not so.  The Box is a small and cosy cinema which comfortably seats 50 on 25 sofas.  When it's not being used as a cinema, or space for a talk, the sofas neatly pack under the floor via a rather special hydraulic lift and sofa storage system.  It's pretty nice! It does require a lot of help though, the seasoned FACT experts seemed to know what they were doing, I was a bit rubbish so hid behind the camera!

Tags: rfid, , , , , , , , .

Making all the computers work…

May 2, 2006

isadora.jpg

It's a quiet Bank Holiday Monday at FACT and we were hooking up all the computers, RFID readers, projectors, and several apps. Paul worked on finalising the applications made at CocoaDevHouse and Sara got everything installed on all the machines we are using. Katie helped with cutting stickers to the right size! did some testing, helped with semantics, oh and bought tshirts and plenty of coffee for everyone.

By 8pm we were all done – everything going to plan. As a special Bank Holiday treat (Sara's) Simon cooked us an amazing dinner of scallops in Champagne sauce – and that was just for starters!

Tags: rfid, , , , , , , , , .

Grabbing Attention at CocoaDevHouse Amsterdam

April 22, 2006

132889812_bd785382c4.jpg

CocoaDevHouse is an unconference, hackathon, geek meetup and make stuff event over 24 hours. We're half way through learning about Cocoa development, and starting to make some stuff that uses the varied and exceptional talents of the guys in the room. Paul is working on the application that turns the RFID events into usable data, records it and does nice stuff with it. The guys at CocoaDevHouse are pretty interested in making a simple Cocoa App, mixed in with a little WebObjects so it seemed like a great opportunity for them all (or 5 of them at least) to work together on it. We're making 2 apps; "Attention Seeker" and "Attention Grabber". The specifications are…..

Attention Seeker
Foreground application
Transparent window in kiosk mode that is above a video.
See http://developer.apple.com/technotes/tn2002/tn2062.html
Gets RFID tag from an attached scannerProcesses this tag and brings up a message and maybe a picture (details collected by Attention Grabber). Trying to avoid using an SQL database to store pictures.
Sort of dash board effect with the application going from Transparent to translucent and then back again.
Log this somewhere.

Attention Grabber

Gets the detail for an RFID tag
User scans the tag, enters details and gets their picture taken
Log the details somewhere, which are called up by the Attention Seeker application.

Backend
The backend is going to be a simple WebObjects app which will take care of persisting the data.
Tags: rfid, , , ,
, , , , .

Open Call

April 18, 2006

AP logo

We're seeking gallery goers in Liverpool to take part in an interactive experiment. The experiment asks nothing more than for you, the audience to give your attention. “Attention Please!” is a video installation with a difference; your attention is important and valuable, pay your attention carefully, and it will be rewarded.

Artist Sara Smith is working with technology partner Kisky Netmedia on this experiment using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. We're mixing techno tags with vivacious video. We're exploring presence and your effect on the art.

As people, ideas and hot new products compete for our attention through TVs, billboards, and the Internet, do they know if we're really paying attention? What if your attention can be measured? What happens when we pay attention to art? And if we do, will it change or react? Will it know? Does it matter? It does now.

We're looking for individuals and groups to participate in our experiment. Come alone, bring your friends or family; it's fun!

Pay attention at

The Box, FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ.

03 & 04 May 2pm – 6pm

Just turn up.
If you want to bring a group before 2pm or only finish work at 6pm and want to come afterwards, contact us and we would be happy to accommodate you!

Looking forward to seeing you!

Things we’ve been talking about

April 17, 2006

While I was visiting Kisky we did a lot of talking about our project and what we had to do and other ideas that could be possible now we have done the first stage of our research.

 tag

Tagging your tag (transponder)

Following on from the idea of being able to write to your tag, our minds started to wander and the ideas began to flow. What if you could tag your tag, Katie rolled off the tags she would write, and what does that leave you with, a tag that has tags on it. What can you do with this information?
They could be used like Playing flickr, where some software was developed that could receive an sms message, questions the flickr database and pulls out images tagged with the tag that was written in the message. So we could develop something similar – when the card is read it reads off the tags and pulls off photographs from flickr. Then these images could build up a montage of the installation and its users, the images could be displayed similar to the million dollar homepage or as a series of stills that create a slideshow.

The Notion of Tags

We have the ability to tag your tag (transponder) "A tag (From wikipedia) is a keyword which acts like a subject or category. A keyword is used to organize webpages and objects on the Internet. Each user "tags" a webpage or image using his/her own unique tag. An image or webpage may have multiple tags that identify it. Webpages and images with identical tags are then linked together and users may use the tag to search for similar webpages and images."

The physical (transponder) and the personal – the ability to combine them is interesting and it becomes more empowering rather than controlling.

Attention economy

My notion of the audience having an important and valuable role in experiencing art (video, performance, theater, interaction) brought us to the term attention, as it belongs to the audience and its in their control where they give it, which has a real effect. It appears we're not the only people who think attention is important, and we want to reward it!

From wikipedia "Attention economics is an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodity, and applies economic theory to solve various information management problems."

Also check out this on Attention economy and the Net, there's an interesting bit on the effect of the audience!