Original Proposal

In order to develop a robust conceptual framework that put community needs at the centre of the creative process the creative team engaged in a series of design development workshops in which the general issues informing the design of interactive public art were discussed, debated and organised into a legible structure. In formulating a methodology in which memory and community interaction can be manifest, the idea of a conceptual “other” emerged.

The analogy of the artwork as a sentient entity, that perceives the world around it, stores these perceptions within its memory, and expresses these memories through ephemeral media became the ordering principle through which the artworks component parts were conceived. In this way we recognised that the “other” would be constituted of a body (site), mind (memory), nervous system (interactive system) and a heart (community interaction). It would function in a temporal as well as spatial way and celebrate its existence each day. Through its interaction with the community and through the nature of its expressive output it would provide a link between the community and place, as the two would become intertwined through the artworks capacities.

In this incarnation of “the other”, the site was seen as the “body”. In its most simple terms the “body” was understood through its physical attributes (ground surfaces, decks, stages, seating and trees) as well as its spatial qualities (visual connections, zoning, access, flow and lighting). The concept of memory suggested that there exists a “mind” in which the trace of actions and interactions are stored. In an interactive artwork, the “mind” is constituted by a digital repository which can store the direct recordings of interactions with the physical body. At its simplest level it would need to possess a short-term memory, directly remembering the physical interactions of the community. It also needed to possess the qualities of long-term memory; to recall, reminisce, reflect and dream. In this way the “mind’s” role was to both collect the memory of the community and engender an enduring memory of place.

The next corporeal analogy that the team adopted was that of the “nervous system”. This related specifically to how the artwork sensed the interaction with the community in relation to its environmental affordances’. Current technology provides a wide range of input mechanics for interactive systems; these include wind, rain, humidity, temperature, touch, proximity and acoustic sensors. These sensors collect data that can then be programmed to generate specific physical outputs to the stimuli they perceive. The establishment of an appropriate “nervous system” for the artwork and the coding of response protocols in its “mind” that trigger light, sound and physical responses presented a pandora’s box of possibilities and relationships between the input and output of the system.


Modes of Interaction