Jordan Backhus

Intro to Physical Computing: Final





“Void” is an interactive art installation that manipulates light and physical space through the use of three-dimensional screens, computer-generated images, and sensors. The installation serves to provide an ethereal and experiential interaction arena, in which the installation directly responds visually to the proximities and movements of its user(s).


We too often forget the profundity of simplicity. The installation was made in an effort to offer an interactive, uncomplicated user experience through visual simplicity.


The project was highly informed through each artists’ various professional backgrounds and experiences. Through previous work with three-dimensional screens, the artists’ decided that the tulles were the most successful option for their vision. Olafur Elliason and Bill Viola were two artists that inspired the interaction and the visual presentation.


The audience is (most likely) the artistically-inclined, but is not limited to such.


The installation is an experience through exploration; the user is invited to explore as they see fit. The installation hopes to engage the user from each and every angle. Although the user cannot penetrate the installation, he/she can walk around its 180 degree diameter.


The installation is suggested as a multi-user experience on a large scale. It is made with the use of Processing, multiple ultrasonic range sensors, and 32 suspended tulles. The arrangement of the tulles give the visuals the appearance of three-dimensionality in physical space. The effect, overall, is provocative. However, the artists have developed a small-scale version for a one user experience. Either/or can be implemented for the Winter Show.


Questions for the User:

  1. Do the visuals correspond to the artists’ themes?
  2. Do the visuals compliment the physical interaction?
  3. Is the physical interaction satisfying? Does it correspond with the visual stimuli?
  4. Is the interactive experience more valuable amongst others or alone?
  5. Would the user describe the experience as transformative? Does it facilitate imagination?
  6. Which movements does the installation facilitate? Any particular angles of interest?
  7. Is the installation inviting? Is it engaging? Which emotions — in particular — does it garner?
  8. At which scale can you imagine this installation? Be specific.
  9. Is this project instrumental, expressional, and/or educational?
  10. Does this project “work”?
  11.  Are there any questions / comments for improvement or alternative thought?


Progress Report:


  • Creation of portable and practical prototype w/ small-scale tulle arrangement and Samsung Pico Projector
  • Manipulation and improvement of midterm Processing sketch to increase the effectiveness and clarity of our vision
  • Sensor-testing to improve the quality of interaction and the installation’s visual response system (this includes multi-user testing)
  • Purchase of extra materials to increase the scale of the original installation
  • Reservation of studio space (Room 50) for final presentation on December 11th

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