Prototypes for Lepus

For my final project in three of my courses, I created an interactive video installation in which I aimed to connect the mythologies of the hare with stigma’s associated with being a woman. I incorporated the hare to fulfill the requirement for my Animals, People and Things in Between class. The video aspect was for Video for New Media, and I incorporated principles I’d learned in Living Art into the film editing and the creation of the physical piece. This post is a discussion of my brainstorming process.

Before I started this project, there were a few phases in my brainstorming that included sketches, word associations and physical prototypes. In each of two classes, I created a physical model/prototype that focused on either the video aspect of my piece, or the physical aspect.

For the video aspect, I had the idea of the viewer peeking into small windows of action, so that the whole was revealed in pieces and not all at once. Using the Video piece

The feedback I got back was that the video content I was using, amateur movies from the 1939 World’s Fair, didn’t seem to fit the peep-show aspect of the physical frame.  I also got feedback that the video quality of the monitor made it too easy to see that it was a monitor (instead of 6 little monitors, I suppose). It was suggested that I use a projector instead. And porn.

For the physical aspect, and as my research into the hare continued, I had the idea of enclosing the viewer into the project itself. The video aspect would be a part of the physical space, and would only be revealed if you were inside the project piece. I made the prototype out of cardboard and hot glue. When I thought about the scale of the piece, I was pretty sure that I had no idea how I’d be able to physically make it. Then, when I presented this piece, the feedback I got was to consider making two of them and to have some way for people outside each piece to control what happens for the people inside each model.

By this time, I’d done more research. I’d finished my Reaktion book on the hare. I made a list of words that seemed to connect many of the stigmas associated with women with many of the myths related to the hare. I’d also started to collect video content, which for me included mostly vintage “stag” and burlesque films from the 1920’s – 1940’s. I even found a film from the 1950’s or 60’s linking pornography to Communism and the decline of all morality. I just cut out the speaker and kept the pornography. But, though I was certainly collecting many videos and doing much editing, I eventually found myself pretty stuck. I still wasn’t sure in what physical form my project would evolve. I knew I had the idea for putting people inside a physical structure, which was to try and get them really inside my animal. And, I also had these multiple videos playing that I really liked. I drew more sketches, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. So, I went back to collecting more research on hare mythology, and found more information.

Then, maybe the day after that (or maybe the same day?), my final idea emerged….

Brainstorming for a horizontal display

The way my project for Spatial Media has been developing has not been, shall we say, linear — at all. Not knowing which group member I was going to work with has obviously been making the brainstorming process quite difficult. Thankfully, at some point I did finally come to some idea for what to do.

The only hard constraint for the table so far is that it has to be a horizontal surface. The floor, a bench, a chair seat, and a table are all candidates for the project. Initially, my first thought was to put it on the floor so that the interface would be fully interactive with the entire body, but after a while I guess I lost interest in that idea while I thought about the purpose of a floor-based interface.

Our instructor gave us a couple of thoughts to consider: content, context and space. That is, what information will the interface have, what will people expect to find in a particular space, and how will it work within that space. I tried to think of places where people go and expect to find information. Such as a library, museum, visitors’ center, train station, etc.

Well, I remembered investigating a few visitor’s centers in arboretums or state parks, and I thought about how the displays are typically flat but not usually interactive. I was kind of worried about making a horizontal surface, but then I considered the Potion design example with the shoes…and I thought about a interactive display using natural elements as the interactive objects.

My partner and I are still not sure of what we will do, but we had a discussion about natural elements, so I think we’re still going in this direction. We both agreed to visit a couple of inspirational places, which I did and have written about in the next post.