180x120: Designing Alternate Location Systems

San Francisco Museum of Art
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Proceedings of the 2007 conference on Designing for User eXperiences
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Background In October 2005, Anthony Burke with Eric Paulos of Intel Labs, Berkeley were invited to design a live media installation at the San Francisco Museum of Art for an event opening. The piece was titled 180x120, drawing in a crowd of over 180 people whose presence and activity over 120 minutes created the installation itself. Contribution 40% Design, fabrication, site and contract negotiation, installation and publicity. This work was a collaboration between information technologists and architects aimed at spatially visualizing real time data of crowd behaviours. My contribution was specifically with regard to the overlap of the material and information systems, and means through which the evolving digital display could be matched to a material substrate. Significance 180x120 is an early example of a live data driven media installation, created at the invitation of the creative director of the SFMoMA in 2005. Our research aims were to interrogate the relationship between private physical location and public consumption of this now easily available information, raising issues of privacy and the extent of personal boundaries in information space. This research explicitly explores the creative possibilities between digital information and encoded material systems marking a moment of temporal, material and digital synthesis. Our research aim was to explore and understand the spatial and visual consequences of this alignment. This blending of interactive media and performance based (crowd based) art was a novel contribution to new media practice and research at the time.
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