End of Quarter feels
Some end of quarter highlights below:
Open Studios was exhausting, exciting, and really affirming! Surprisingly, I was really calm the night before and the morning of the exhibition. This is probably because I planned out my project so far in advance (thanks LDI!). Though my project, reflected | refracted, is just a small part of what I’m working on for my thesis, it has been an incredibly helpful study on color and lighting. Fall Open Studios was a strong start to my adventures as an MFA candidate, and I hope to reuse the tools I’ve made in future endeavors.
It was really interesting to hear so many people reacting positively to reflected | refracted, despite my own insecurities of how simple the installation may have looked. During Open Studios, I had a table for feedback and got some really affirming notes in response to the two questions I asked, “What is your favorite color? How does the space make you feel?” Some highlights include, “silver - it feels open and has me relax and have fun,” and, “pink - it feels meditative, I like the cooperation of 2 player and how everyone’s perception of color is different.” It was really nice to hear how joyful and relaxed the experience made people feel. Someone else said that it felt like therapy for them!
During my critique, I also received some great references from many of the faculty. Marianne Weems, a new Theater faculty member, recommended I check out the work of the Australian dance group, Chunky Move. Their work incorporates real time media technologies in their performances. Another good resource that I was recommended, “What Color is the Sacred?” by Michael Taussig, which is a meditation on color through an anthropological lens. Both Yolande Harris and Ed Shanken had a lot to say about color, embodiment and interactivity. I hope to follow up with them and other faculty early next quarter to talk more about collaboration.
Moving forward, I’d like to have the lighting respond depending on the number of people in the space through markerless person tracking. Using the infrared trackers for reflected | refracted limited the number of people that could change the color of the lighting, and at times felt cumbersome. Although the majority of people were open and curious about the technology, there there were a handful of people who didn’t want to wear it. I also noticed that if there was someone already in the space then the other people wanted to immediately walk in and also expect to be tracked. I definitely want to continue developing this project with the intention of using markerless sensing as well as integrating multi-person logic for the system.
Reflected | refracted is a system that I’ll definitely continue developing, and hope to integrate into my MFA thesis research. I am very curious about responsive environments, and rooms that learn from someone’s presence and participation. I’d like to continue exploring how I can use color and lighting as a mood setting tool, and as a way for the environment to communicate with the patrons inside of it. More than anything though, I want to investigate how group dynamics might affect the lighting and media in a space, i.e. if people are standing closely together that might be visualized with circular patterns or with warm colors and if they were all spread out then maybe we would see a bunch of disparate points that were cool and isolated. The possibilities are quite endless, but through the documentation and iterations of reflected | refracted I have learned a lot about what colors people like to see in light, what colors looked better when photographed, and how much work it takes to put something like this together.
A super fun electronics project I did in collaboration with Shimul Chowdhury and Laura Stevenson using an Arduino Uno, RGB LED strips, and an ultrasonic sensor. For more info, see the project page here.
I applied for a couple grants this quarter and so far I've gotten one of them! Woo! Standby for a fancy new website about MIR. In the meantime feel free to read over this blurb from the Idea Hub website:
UPDATE: FANCY MIR WEBSITE