Archive for the ‘Project Information’ Category

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.


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!

Writing to tags

April 17, 2006

paul pc and mac

The software that comes with the reader enables you to write 255 blocks of 4 characters to the tags, but what can you do with this after that? Does the tag need interrogating to retrieve this information, or will it send it out whenever it is read?

The reader has to switched (using the software) between read or write mode, each tag has to be added through the inventory reader (same device just in another mode) before it can be written to.
When in write mode (ISO host write) you need to select the tag you are working with input characters you want to write then send to the tag, then the COM interface can read this information when in Scan Mode (HID). This software is only PC format and appear quite complicated but it gives you the basic facilities to use the tags.

For our experiment, we are talking specifically about attention and audience participation-is it even important that we can write to the tag? I feel its important that we investigate this process as its something that makes the tags unique other than their ID number. We have been talking about the notion of rewarding our visitor's by giving them their tag (transponder) with their name written on it.
We could add another terminal to the set-up and use a PC with the COM interface software to simply write to the tag, but this would involve either using our registration reader or purchasing a fifth reader that we simply don't have budget for.
Or if we could find someone to write a Mac application that could be linked with our registration terminal that could write to the tag, but this is a low priority gimmick, only to be added if someone (else) can come up with an easy solution!

Mediamatic meet and the secret Symbolic Table

April 17, 2006


Mediamatic live in the Post CS Building, Amsterdam, they have been running workshops on RFID since July 2005 (there next workshop is coming up in early May see Katie's pervious post RFID & the Internet of Things). We wanted to say "Hi" tell them about our project and see if any thing interesting came up. We explained our project, the ITEM brief and our progress with the technology.


My first realisation was that our project RFID DIY, and we are finding out what the technology can do and including building drivers where needed ourselves, and our first and may other peoples first conclusion is that the tags are essentially keyboard, they print out their unique ID number.The second conclusion was that to do anything really exciting with the technology your talking about the ultra high frequency readers, and several of them with is mega bucks!

They have been investigating the new Nokia phones that have RFID readers in them, for near field communication (NFC) they only work with specific tags, but its an interesting switch of the use of the technology as the user has the reader not tagged with a transponder! (more…)

Research and Development Trip

April 14, 2006

kisky hq

I'm at Kisky Netmedia HQ for the next few days doing some intense planning, development and testing of our project. We're going to find out just how far we can take RFID!
I've been very impressed with the guest services they have provided for me, very kind thank you guys xx

Dank u wel. 

The shopping list

April 14, 2006

 RFID components

So what have we bought?
We have purchased the cheaper of the readers available that are high frequency (13.56MHz) rather than ultra high frequency (915MHz), the limitations are a typical reading distance of only 18cm (max distance I have found was 1.2m), but the UHF readers require external antennas which increases the range of the reader dramatically. The FEIG reader can be supplied as either RS232 connection (with separate power supply) or USB – we chose USB version.
The tags come in all shapes and sizes that signifies the amount of data the can be written to the tags. Remember when buying the tags to make sure they are the same frequency as the readers other wise they just won't work (thanks Scott, from BuyRFID!!!!).

I got quotes from BuyRFID (US) and RFID Components Ltd (UK) both of which were very helpful, supportive and competitive quotes.

3 FEIG PR101 USB Proximity Reader
250 13.56MHz Vicinity Card Transponders (or we could have purchased White Film Tags TIT – WFL 13.56MHz, from BuyRFID)

The RFID setup!

April 10, 2006


We have been working with a test set up, trying out various software and hardware solutions, and after an initial period of not much going on, we've now got our preferred setup defined. I want to outline it here….

It may be useful to outline the issues we have faced with using RFID to impact on video content within the gallery. Firstly, our aims as the technology partner are to research what can and what cannot be done with RFID, and helping Sara translate that into a valuable audience experience. As RFID is about interaction, the audience is the experiment as much as the work is and so the audience / art interface is very transparent. By asking the audience to actively 'pay attention' they are willing participants in this data exchange.

So… we are currently using the RFID reader kit from FEIG. It is connected via USB to a Mac. (We had to use a PC to set the box up to work in that way, but it now works with a Mac). We are then using the RFID reader basically as a keyboard. It outputs the serial number of the tag, we can read that in as text.


We have made a simple Cocoa application to handle what we do with that output. So then we can use junXion from STEIM, with Isadora, or potentially use Isadora on its own.


We can assign different actions in Isadora to different events from the RFID box.




(Video before and after the Isadora effect triggered by the RFID 'attention'.) We can also potentially write to the tags. This may be a great way of 'registering' participants. The participants will then take their data away with them as they leave with their 'attention card'.

We will document the detailed set up for reference later on.
Tags: rfid, , , , .

Attention on Upcoming please!

April 8, 2006

Attention Please! on Upcoming

We like using Attention Please! An Experiment has been added to Upcoming as an event. If you're thinking of attending or just want to 'watch' the event, please add yourself on If you don't already use Upcoming, you should! It's a great way to find out about and promote events of any type in your area or interest group.

Find Attention Please! on Upcoming here.

Please leave a comment….

April 4, 2006


So this week, we're at the Diffraction conference at FACT. As an ITEM project person it is fascinating to hear the experiences of other previous ITEM artists and technology partners. We'll be briefly discussing Attention Please tomorrow and we do hope that other Diffraction delegates will participate in our conversation and project via this blog.  So far, we're getting readers, but no one's talking to us!!

RFID Kit Arrived

March 30, 2006

RFID Reader from FEIG

Last week it arrived. We've been so busy playing with it we forgot to mention it! It's all good so far. In order to make it work with our Mac setup we may need to write a driver for it. This will get it to output the right stuff for Isadora. More on this later.

Attention Please! Research Objectives

March 2, 2006

Projects taking place within the ITEM programme have three main goals.
These are;

  1. The development of the individual participants practice
  2. The development of tools for exhibition and exposition
  3. The enhancement of the creative use of technology.

Together Kisky and I have developed our specific project research objectives that we shall explore during the experiment. They are;

  • Can technology be used in conjunction with an art work to manipulate an audiences attention?
  • Can technology enable new forms of audience interaction with video art?
  • How can RFID be used to measure audience movement/presence?
  • How can RFID impact the representation of the presence of an audience?
  • Can (RFID) technology be used to engaged audiences in active participation in an art ‘experiment’?

Why Attention Please!?

February 27, 2006

There are two distinct perspectives to this project.  Firstly, as we are working on Sara’s aim to explore the notion of presence, aura, and attention there is a very creative angle to be explored; “how can something attract attention?” As we are also using fixed capability RFID technology, there needs to be something of the inventor in us in terms of how we approach this project; “how can we represent the notion of presence, or attention?”

We have decided to use RFID to measure attention.  And to attract attention in the first place, Sara will be creating a series of video installations.    We arrived at the notion of a project which measures attention, because the technology itself offers some measurement capability.  In addition to a measurement capability, we were having conversations about what draws and keeps audience attention (and perhaps) imagination in a gallery space, specifically in a new media / video installation environment.

If a device can be used to measure attention, then can that data then be used to influence the ‘exhibit itself’.  For example, a user views a video installation and gives it attention; can another video change in order to attract the attention of the viewer?  Can the viewer, through measured attention be represented in some way.  Can their characteristics build up a picture of an audience’s aura? Can this affect the work within the space?

Attention; its value, attention ‘seeking’ activity, and the notion of presence within an exhibition space are the key themes of this research project. We aim to discuss these issues in more depth over the life of this project via this blog.