Enchanted Attic

During this week long workshop, we were asked to form groups of four to create interactive booths.

We were introduced to the messaging platform ‘Noam’ that facilitates communication between hardware and software elements. Each group’s booth received several data streams from another group. These inputs were displayed or processed inside our booth.

With the help of the user, new data streams were created as an output to the next booth. The aim of this project was to produce a data driven, digital interpretation of the ‘exquisite corpse’ concept.

As part of the brainstorming process, we found that we were all interested in creating objects that would animate on their own. Based on our discussions the idea for an ‘Enchanted Attic’ emerged.

We created a Processing sketch that sensed a visitor’s movement via a Kinect camera. The movements then changed the mood of small, ghost-like creatures we projected on the wall. If a person stood close to the projection, the ghosts became afraid and tried to escape. Fast movements and a lot of activity made them disappear altogether. One special event we received would trigger the mother ghost to emerge and startle the person interacting with with the projection. Instead of fleeing, the mother ghost would protect her children by following the person.

The spooky atmosphere of the attic space was enhanced by the the flickering of the lights and the seemingly random objects rattling and blowing via motors. The behaviour of these objects also depended on the data streams we received.

Our key learning, other than the Noam platform itself, was that collaborative coding gave us an opportunity to experience synchronous programming. Working together to create a large scale project proved very difficult, but at the end it was easy to see how this type of collaboration would work well for future endeavours.