Designing for Collective Participation with Media Installations in Public Spaces

SPEAKER: Martin Tomitsch, The University of Sydney, Sydney.

Paper session two: Lessons for Design.
16:00 - 17:00, Friday, 16 November 2012.

One of the greatest challenges that designers and artists face when deploying interactive media displays in the urban space resides on finding the right level of audience participation. In many cases this includes the challenge of designing for sustained interaction over an 'ideal' time period. It has been acknowledged that questions concerning the meaning and purpose of public displays are expected to be addressed thoughtfully with respect to the surrounding environment, its architecture, social conventions, and the values and habits of its inhabitants and visitors. Consideration must be given to the role played by both the social context and cultural values shared by the community, since those may influence proxemic aspects [7] of the interaction and in consequence impact the designed collective experience. This paper analyses the effect of contextual constraints such as prominence and length of the exhibition on two interactive light installations. Both installations adopted media displays as a tacit element to sustain awareness of the collective experience promoted by the public space interventions. Following a nested action research approach we studied the installations in the field, which led us to formulate interaction goals and content strategies for designing the collective participation in interactive artworks. More specifically we link the identified parameters to the two extreme categories of performative and ubiquitous interaction and discuss their value for designing interactive, public media.

Luke Hespanhol
Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning – Design Lab
The University of Sydney, Australia
luke [dot] hespanhol [at] gmail [dot] com

Martin Tomitsch
Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning – Design Lab
The University of Sydney, Australia
martin [dot] tomitsch [at] sydney [dot] edu [dot] au

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