Identifying oneself and the other through the simultaneous action of both seeing and being seen
For this project, we were interested in the look and feel of stress on the CMU campus. The original intent was to make our piece interactive and crowd-source in realtime people’s thoughts and feelings on stress. Technical difficulties and a lack of time however forced us to consider an approach that was not real-time, but achieved the same goals. The piece thus works as follows: a participant listens to a video question about stress from the last participant, answers this question with another video, and finally records a video question for the next participant. We were intrigued by this self-propagating feature of the piece because we believe it adds a feeling of genuineness and authenticity when the questions about stress come in the form of a dialogue from a peer. The piece was projected on the memorial right in front of the Hunt Library – a location where we were sure to find stressed college students.
Many students were stressed and frustrated due to the cold and snow. To create illusion and provoke nostalgia in the minds of the viewers, I projected a video of waves on a shore onto the CFA Lawn.
When the illusion of the waves was gone, only the footprints were left.
For this project our group took three projectors out to Schenley Plaza and projected kaleidoscopic images of marbles onto the tent.
Our original intent was to project onto a large snowball, but we chose to use the tent instead in the interest of modifying an already existing structure instead of creating a sculptural piece. Our main goal was to transform the space and project interesting geometric visuals and we found that the tent was a good, smooth surface without any patterns on its surface to disrupt the projection.
Our piece was well received by passers-by. It was very cold that night so not many people were walking around, but a group of Korean college students came by and asked us about it. They watched for a few minutes before going on their way. A few other people also walked past and gave us shy but curious looks.
When we were satisfied with our work with the tent we turned our projectors to the giant snowball we had started making two weeks prior. This was simply out of curiosity for how it would look and we were satisfied with the results. We agree that it would have had far more impact if we had been able to make it bigger.
We were surprised when at this point a man walking by walked up to us and asked if he could take a picture. We invited him over and took his picture next to the snowball. His English was a bit difficult to understand but he seemed pleased and went on his way. It is possible that the snowball being smaller and closer to the ground than the tent made it more accessible to him as the audience, and so he initiated an interaction.
We were very glad that we had decided to use three projectors, because if we did not have that many it would have been impossible to see the images with all the ambient light in the area. Prior to this attempt we had run into problems with our inverter and one of our tripods,but thankfully we were able to resolve those issues and get good results.
Here is the video we projected:
We will project clips of the corporate news media onto smoke escaping from the Cloud Factory. The amorphous quality of the smoke will challenge the fixed, clearly-defined and over-simplified truths that the corporate news media attempts to convey.
Out in the field:
We originally tried the Cloud Factory next to the Carnegie Library, but we soon learned the limitations of our projector.