When discussing what would be our proposed 5-minute experience, Matt suggested an interactive game space whereby the user’s movements control various parameters, and can choose to make it harder – by increasing the number of forces to deal with while being ‘the estuary’. I agreed that it would be interesting to propose an interactive space especially considering the incredible technology that is already available in the Data Arena. After fleshing it, out we worked well together in creating our final proposal:
“Our proposal to turn our 30-second animation into a 5 minute experience is based on further emphasising the huge effect humans unknowingly have on their environment, with the intention to bring that awareness to all those who view and participate in the experience.
We propose that the Data arena become an immersive and interactive space for the audience. Projected onto the screens would be the blue particles that represent the living system – the estuary. While the yellow, external particles are user generated, directly relying on the people who are present within the space – this represents the human impact.
To achieve this, the sensors in the data arena are used to trigger animation parameters and effects. These sensors will track the number of users in the room, as well as sensing their movement. The data gathered by these sensors will be used to live control parameters of the animation such as the amount of yellow particles in the animation, the rate at which the yellow particles move and therefore, the way in which the blue particle system reacts to these changes.
With an empty room, the default section of the animation would play, showing the slow, smooth circling of the blue particles around the room. With each person that enters the room the animation would become faster and more chaotic, increasing the randomness of the particle movements and the dominance of yellow particles.
Motion sensors would also track the amount of movement in the room. Data gathered from the motion sensors would control the camera views smoothness with higher levels of movement leading to a more erratically moving camera view. This could be achieved by having the camera on a rotating path with oscillating off axis movements, increasing the level of oscillation with the increased movement values recorded.
These two interactions highlight the main parameters that effect environmental damage caused by humans – Number of instances of damage being caused and the severity of the damage at each instance.
If many people are contributing, the users must be extremely careful and considered with their actions otherwise they will rapidly overwhelm the system and experience a chaotic animation. If they all work together to remain still, they will allow the environment to remain calm and fairly undamaged. It also shows that when you make an action individually, the implications are not initially apparent, however, when contextualized within a community of users also performing the same action, the impact becomes very visible.
We also hope to utilize the full capabilities of the sound system by mapping sound orientation to the individual users. By creating a dynamic soundscape which shifts with the users, the level of immersion should be greatly increased. A highly immersive experience is critical in encouraging the user to empathize with the ecosystems they are potentially damaging. It is expected that by bringing the destructive capabilities into the consciousness of the user, every day behavioral changes will be made to reduce their negative environmental impact.
Through this cinematic interactive experience, we hope we can bring awareness to the relationship between humans and the environment such as estuaries, by demonstrating the direct correlation between action and impact.”
It was great to finally have a moment, where we agreed and were actually bouncing ideas off one another. This interactive space was an area we have previously discussed at the beginning and knew we were both passionate about – so it made this step in the process quite easy.
As an extension of this proposal, I thought it was important to have some supporting visuals. So I sent my initial sketch to Darryl, who then created this refined visual for our presentation. You can see the correlation between physical space and the screen space.