Pseudo Code For Idea

Here is the basic pseudo code for my idea:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.15.14This has allowed me to briefly see the steps I need to follow in order produce my interactive piece and the processing knowledge I need. I need to ensure that I have sufficient knowledge in video capturing, object orientated programming, motion thresholding and conditional statements. Next, I will go on to further explore the concept of surrealism, of which my piece will relate to, as well as developing my processing knowledge.

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Processing Workshop – Mapping

Today, I learnt about the map function, which ‘re-maps a number from one range to another’. I used existing knowledge of importing images and the 2d pixel array formula – x+(y*width), and mapped the pixel colours of the image to a height location on the screen which is determined by the mouse. Here is the code:Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 14.46.59Learning the map function was useful as it advances my programming knowledge, however I don’t plan on using this function in my piece. If I was to relate this mapping idea more to the brief, I would setup up a video capture so that the colour pixels of the video are mapped.

Processing (2014). Processing: Map [online]. Available from: https://www.processing.org/reference/map_.html [Accessed 28 November 2014].

Experimenting With Processing

In order to be able to advance my coding knowledge in processing, it is important that I fully understand all the basics that we have explored in previous workshop. However, as I didn’t feel entirely confident in my understanding, I have been watching lots of Daniel Shiffmans’ videos. Focussing on the skills I need to produce my idea, I further explored object-orientated programming. I felt that the knowledge I gained from the workshop was sufficient but felt I didn’t fully understand it. In specific, I looked at videos that taught me about classes, what they are and how to create them. As well as looking at arrays, what they are and how to use them, whether it be for 3, 100, or infinity amount of objects. From watching the videos I feel my understanding of object-orientated programming has developed, and I used this knowledge to produce a piece, that consists of 3 classes (circles, squares and rectangles), which continuously gravitating towards the bottom of the sketch. I produced an array of each class and set it so a certain amount of each shape appears. I also randomised the size of each so you get lots of gravitating shapes of different sizes. As well as setting up an if statement so that when the objects reach the bottom of the sketch, they start descending from the top again. Here is the outcome:

By carrying out more research on processing, I have been able to develop my skills and become more familiar with object-orientated programming. Classes are a template for an object, consisting of unique data and functionality, and an array is a list of data. What I learnt and have produced will be useful towards my final interactive piece. Next, I will further research video capturing, motion and thresholding.

Shiffman, D, 2014. Vimeo – Shiffman’s Videos [online]. Available from: http://vimeo.com/shiffman/videos/ [Accessed 24 November 2014].

Idea For Interactive Piece

The brief we have been set is to…

‘Create a piece of interactive information design for a shared public space, which is intended to elucidate/explain some an idea or concept you perceive as key to our 21st century media experience.’

The interactive element of my piece will be related to motion, I will video capture the public space and detect the brightness threshold of motion. The piece will feature objects that gravitate towards the bottom of the screen; when motion is detected, the objects are then obstructed from falling. The video capture will be in contrasting black and white, with brightly coloured objects, and the people will be captured as silhouette like figures rather than in full detail. The interactive element of my idea gives the users a sense of agency, which hopefully will help to keep them engaged. A piece that relates to my idea is Text Rain, produced by Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv in 1999:

It features coloured falling letters which respond to users motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again.

‘If a participant accumulates enough letters along their outstretched arms, or along the silhouette of any dark object, they can sometimes catch an entire word, or even a phrase. The falling letters are not random, but form lines of a poem about bodies and language’ (Utterback 2014).

I like how the text produces a poem and think that this piece is very effective. For my piece, I could experiment with using different objects, for example I could possibly use shapes, texts or graphics. Relating it to the public space, I feel the idea would be suitable as the piece can be experienced singularly or by multiple people.

The concept that I could apply my piece to is surrealism. Surrealism is a

‘movement, which began in the 1920s, of writers and artists who experimented with ways of unleashing the subconscious imagination’ (Tate, 2014).

Duval (2014) describes surrealism as a form of expression that surpasses realism, hence in this case the surreal can be seen as being better than ‘real’. Surrealists were inspired by Freud, who

‘identified a deep layer of the human mind where memories and our most basic instincts are stored. He called this the unconscious, since most of the time we are not aware of it. The aim of surrealism was to reveal the unconscious and reconcile it with rational life.’ (Tate, 2014).

Thus, surrealism is related to the blurring the distinction between reality(conscious mind) and dreams(unconscious mind). This could link to Baudrillards’ idea of hyperreality, of which I am studying in my Consumer Culture theory unit. He defines hyperreality as the blurring distinction between reality and simulations of reality, of which in the case of surrealism, dreams and imagination could be classed as simulations of reality. Baudrillard (1970, p.12) suggests that

‘Instead of reality, people are treated to simulations involving the constant recombination of various signs, of elements of the code.’

This highlights the blurring boundaries between reality and simulation of reality, of which can strongly be applied to contemporary postmodern culture. It can relate to my idea as users may think it is reality as they are present on the screen, but in fact it is a re-presentation of reality, with the juxtapositioning of random falling objects. This also relates to Saussures’ earlier ideas regarding semiotics: the signifier (object/words/pieces) and signified (concept/meaning), and as Barthes (1964 p.42) suggest:Saussure-Signified-signifier

‘the signified is not ‘a thing’ but a mental representation of the ‘thing’’

My idea could also relate to the concept of audiences, which I studied a lot in my first year theory modules, relating to the changes from passivity to activity, audiences to users and consumption to production (see previous post – Active Audiences).

Next, I will go on to explore some surreal art work and photography that I find of interest, and will relate it to my idea, as well as further exploring my chosen concept of surrealism. I will also go on to develop my processing skills, by watching tutorials and independently experimenting with trial and error, as well as attending the workshops.

References:

Barthes, R, 1964. Elements Of Semiology. New York: Hill and Wang.

Baudrillard, J, 1970. The Consumer Society: Myths & Structures [online]. London: Sage Publications.

Duval, A, 2014. Surrealism: What Is Surrealism? [online]. Available from: http://www.musee-magritte-museum.be/Typo3/index.php?id=8 [Accessed 27 November 2014].

Tate, 2014. Surrealism [online]. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/s/surrealism [Accessed 27 November 2014].

Utterback, C, 2014. Text Rain [online]. Available from: http://camilleutterback.com/projects/text-rain/ [Accessed 27 November 2014].

Pseudo-code

Pseudo-code is a informal notation resembling a simplified programming language. Pseudo-code can be applied to all programming languages and is a helpful step in order to process various ideas into code. It is a simply written, step by step structure, to help write the actual programming language. Using pseudo-code can be beneficial as it allows us to plan work more thoroughly rather than jumping straight into programming. However, it is a extra step that sometimes isn’t always necessary for advanced programers. Here is a simple example of both a flowchart and pseudo-code in order to make a cup of tea:

cup-of-tea1

The steps are simple for anyone to understand and from this can be transferred into the required programming language. For my project, I am using Java within Processing and as I am not advanced in this language I could use pseudo-code in order to structure my idea and help me to transform it into code. I feel by doing this it would be beneficial, as it will help me to fully plan my idea and enable me to clearly see whether it is realistic to achieve by the deadline. By carrying out efficient planning, it can then result in a more efficient development process and means that fewer problems arise during coding. Next, I will go on to further plan out my idea and write out a basic pseudo-code for it.

Science Museum Trip

sm_logo_0Today, we went on a trip to London to visit the Science Museum. It allowed us to further understand media spaces and to see how different people behave within public spaces. Due to our project being an interactive piece, I focussed on exploring the interactive media pieces and how audiences engaged and understood them. Due to the fact it was a museum, it was clear that the people were looking around and engaging at the various pieces and artefacts. However, due to my project being based at University, I have to find ways to ensure people look and hopefully interact with my piece.

I observed that there was a vast range of different ages of people present, but would argue that majority were children there on school trips. Within the museum, there were only a few interactive pieces as the majority were historical and scientific artefacts. However, I feel that the interactive pieces seemed to engage more people, due to their appealing visual aspects. I found that the older people in particular seemed to be more interested in reviewing the more historical artefacts, and weren’t as interesting in the interactive pieces. I found it was the children in particular who engaged with the interactive pieces, of which they seemed to find very entertaining and fun. This highlights how different age generations engage with things different, dependent on their own experiences. It is clear that some older people may not be as experienced as the younger generation with using all these new technologies, but it is important to also be aware that sometime are assumptions can be challenged.

The interactivity was mainly incorporated through touch screens and buttons, as well as a movement based interaction in the Who Am I? exhibition. From observing people engaging with the interactive pieces, I noticed that children seemed to think that everything was touchscreen. They weren’t really engaging with the true concept, rather they were playing with friends, pushing buttons as fast as they could and touching various things on screen in the hope that something will happen. Throughout the museum there were various information touch screens to support the historical and scientific artefacts. However, I found that these were only used by those wanting to find out further information about the artefacts. Due to children growing up with the revolution of touch screens, most children seemed to depend on pieceWAI-Me3-1-WEB_6s being touch screen and weren’t as aware of other interactive features. For example, in the Who am I? exhibition (image on left), some children didn’t realise what the interactive feature of piece was and just saw it simply as a white wall; it wasn’t until someone stepped onto it that they realised it’s interactive and therefore they decided to engage with it. This piece stood out most to me, the multi-coloured particle objects follow peoples footprints and then reflect their movements visually on the screen. I like the interactive idea of this piece and similarly I plan to use motion and objects within my interactive piece. This has highlighted to me that it is important that my piece is easy to engage with and that it doesn’t require lots of prior technological knowledge in order to interact with it .

filename-do-not-touchAnother piece that stood out to me was the ‘Do Not Touch’ piece that appeared to give slight electric shocks to people. The idea behind this is to do with reverse phycology, the ‘Do Not Touch’ label on the floor around the piece in fact encourages people to touch the piece of which is intended. It also shows how peoples can behave in various ways, go against orders and it is extremely hard to assume how different people will behave. Although I noticed that the majority of children touched the piece which was the intention of it, there were a few that saw the ‘Do Not Touch’ and didn’t understand why people were touching it and so told them not too. From this, I have understood further that even people of a similar age will behave in different ways, of which I have to take into account for my piece. Although, the majority of people who see my piece will be students of similar age, they will all behave differently based on their own background and experiences. By going to the museum and observing the behaviour of people, I have learnt more about interactivity with public spaces. Most of the interactive pieces present in the museum don’t require a high amount of knowledge to use and this has made me realise that simple pieces can be just as successful as they are easy for all ages to directly and freely engage with. Linking this to my idea, I feel the piece will be easy for anyone to engage with, no matter how long they want to spend in the space. I have further learnt that the behaviour of people is very complex and even though I have studied my public space and the typical people, anything could happen and peoples behaviour can alter at any point.

a_1webWhen walking around London, we came across an interactive advertisement for Alcon contact lenses called ‘The London Stare’. We saw it displayed at a bus station and it encourages people to compete in a staring contest with a person on the screen. It displays whether you win or loose and then automatically prints out a contact lenses voucher. I found the piece quite interesting and more engaging than simple print advertisement which you see displayed all over London. Although due to it being at a busy bus stop, people seemed to notice it but were embarrassed to actually engage with it. However, after we engaged with the piece, we noticed a lady then interact with it. From this, I have learnt that some peoples actions can be influenced by other people. Therefore, if someone sees someone else engaging with my piece when it is in Weymouth House then hopefully it’ll influence them to engage with it too. This idea is quite a simple concept, which again has taught me that sometimes simplicity can actually be just as good or even better than complex ideas.

Inspirations For Interactive Piece

In order to help me to further develop ideas for my piece, I have been looking at existing interactive motion pieces that interest me. These are the main two examples that stood out to me when carrying out my research. I will analyse what I like about each one and will reflect on how they have inspired me.

I like the fact that this installation is based on pixels, using black and white circles to create silhouette like figures. It captures peoples movements but I feel it is more interesting rather than just being a simple video capture. I like how circles are used to create the figures on screen and think it makes quite a good effect. The use of black and white contrasts the figures from the background and I think that this works really well.

I really like the use of colours in this piece, the black background with bright luminous colours works well and stand out a lot to me. When someone moves, the multiple lines all move randomly, changing size and colour. This piece is more abstract and artistic, and the movement of the person creates a nice abstract visual.

Similarly to these examples, I would like my interactive piece to be on motion and movement. Carrying out this research has been very beneficial and it has really helped me to gain more ideas for my own piece. From this, I have decided that I would like my piece to video capture people as silhouettes rather than being in full detail. By doing this, hopefully it’ll encourage more people to engage with the piece as I’m aware that some people don’t like the idea of being on camera. I would also like to use bright colours, possibly on a black background, to make it eye catching and appealing to users. Relating back to my previous processing workshop, I would like to incorporate the use of objects and vectors into my piece, and the motion of the people can obstruct and alter the direction of the objects. Next, I will go on to produce a post finalising my idea as well as looking at some motion tutorials online.

Hype, 2012. Iris. Available from: youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhdG7OltXnU [Accessed 17 November 2014].

Universal Everything, 2013. Nike Flyknit . Available from: http://www.universaleverything.com/projects/nike-flyknit/ [Accessed 17 November 2014].