presence [a.k.a soft & silky]

Presence [a.k.a Soft & Silky] is an interactive installation in which users are invited to engage, through motion and touch, with the tactile interface itself and other users. This installation is based on a simple, inexpensive, and scalable setup/technique enabling a range of movement from multi-touch to full body sensing on a double sided performative surface.

Presence project is particularly interested in the role of human effectual choreography in a physical environment and regard the importance of the reciprocal influence between multiple human interactions and architectural space.

With the use of the double-sided interactive wall, the Presence installation focuses on the idea of building an interface that calls upon humans to use, perform, and to engage in the poetic of space.  In this space, the users have a direct experience with human interconnection – flesh to flesh and flesh to digital- creating a container for them to rethink their immutable monumentality of physical construction.

By removing the barriers to personal interactions and exploring the encounter of bodies and digital artifacts, Presence piece has taken step back toward to flesh to flesh communication and increase authentic wholistic interaction.

We believe that the concept of double sided interactive surface has a lot of potential as conceptual framework to explore and to use for triggering creativity and designing interesting interactions in fields such as performance, design, and public intervention/space.

Presence is the first, in a series of interactive pieces that will explore the concept of double sided interactive surface. Future technical work will include improving the computer vision processor to gain in accuracy and in tracking capabilities. In addition to these elements, we hope to implement a speech input and treatment with the intention of creating another layer of interactivity, and augment “The bandwidth of reality”[David Rokeby].

The choice of a soft and silky wall interface highlights the sensual and intimate experience for the users. This tactile quality is definitely an interface elements that we wish to explore further in the future.  We observed that the flexibility/malleability of the surface had considerable impact on the users’ awareness of their interconnectivity with others touch. The elasticity of the membrane gives a 3D aspect to the interface surface and can be manipulated in more interesting ways than a hard 2D surface.

Credits: Hugues Bruyère and Thierry Giles

Thanks to: Prof. Jason Lewis for his support. The work described herein was conducted at OBX LaboratoriesJulien Gachadoat (v3ga), and of course Processing and its community for their tools, libraries, sketches (i.e. “Exhaust” by Ryan Alexander), code samples, advices, etc.