Saturday, February 27, 2010

...friends's support, private space and Unabomber ...

While doing her own research my friend Marion found a video which relates to my project's topic. It's here. I started e-digging and found their website. The piece, however it might look like one, is not a display on the floor. It is based on projection! Both camera tracking movement and the projector are hanging above. Those are connected to a PC computer running custom software for tracking peoples' movements and generating Vonroi diagram projected back on the floor.

This intriguing piece of art, called 'Boundary Functions', was created by Scott Snibbe, American interactive media artist, researcher and entrepreneur. It reflects on perception of one's personal space. By projecting the Vonroi diagram lines, it attempts to materialize the notion of intangible boundaries existing between people. What is particularly interesting for me, this installation is functional only with more than one person present. It is exactly the effect that I was hoping to achieve in the IV idea for final project! I wanted to encourage people to interact between each other in order to fully appreciate an interactive piece. The deeper meaning would be making a statement that these are in fact other human beings that matter in terms of interactions, not technology itself. It is, so far, my strong conviction :-)

One more reflection...
...I read the description of
'Boundary Functions' and, to my amazement, I found out that the piece was named after Theodore Kaczynski's 1967 Phd thesis at the University of Michigan. Yes, the last name sounds Polish, indeed. Kaczynski was born in a second generation of Polish-Americans, but it is not the most important part. To those who haven't come across his name so far - Theodore Kaczynski is better known as Unabomber and was responsible for sending over a dozen of bombs to targets including universities and airlines. In his 'Unabomber Manifesto' he argued that 'his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization'.

The installation 'Boundary Functions' derives its message from the case of Kaczynski as an example of 'the conflict and compromise of engaging in society versus solitude and individuality uncompromised by the thoughts or presence of others'. Hmmm... the description of the piece took me to another level of understanding it. I have to admit, I like the message. However, I get to a point of a tiny conflict. On one hand, having worked with photography for a long time, I highly appreciate if the piece explains itself. On the other hand, although tend to explore deeper meanings in things around me, there was not a hope that I would 'guess' artist's concept behind 'Boundary Functions' without reading the piece's description! OK, Google does mention T.J.Kaczynski: Boundary Functions at the 3rd place for Boundary Functions search. So you say, if I investigated enough, I would find out the connection. I'm afraid, I still wouldn't. Kaczynski is quite popular Polish last name and I wouldn't guess immediatly that 'T.J.' stands for 'Theodore John'... and I wouldn't suspect Unabomber to have anything in common with an interactive installation! Am I not smart enough? Or maybe contemporary interactive pieces do require a bit of background explanation for audience, to fully appreciate the concept? I remember more in-gallery situations when my initial puzzlement disappeared thanks to even short explanation of the concept. Interesting issue...

Btw. Maybe I wasn't an intellectual child prodigy, but I had no major problems while learning; I am kind of 1st generation of Irish-Polish; I would love to do PhD; I did read Thoreau's 'Walden' ; I do like sending real letters; next week we have Arduino workshop and this is how my first attempts with Arduino during Tweak looked like:

Don't worry!!! I believe that smiling and talking to people can be more powerful that bombs... and I believe in satyagraha :-)

Oki doki... does anyone know by any chance, where is LiteFoot in this post?!

1 comment:

  1. its so you cool cant wait to try whatever you come up with :)