Talk to Me

Chris Crawford defines interaction as a cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak.

This exhibit is centered around the communication and interaction of the object, film, sound, etc. to the user. In this interaction the artist is attempting to better the lives of the person being spoken to, or in some cases involved in a conversation with the piece.

There were many pieces in the exhibit that really “talked to me.” The first that really jumped out and that I loved was the Tweenbot project which actually came out of ITP. Tweenbot is a very simple robot that really only goes in one direction with a flag on the top telling any one who passes by where its final destination is. Because the Tweenbot only goes in one direction it depends on the kindness of strangers to point it in the right direction. I believe that this project is a great example of physical interaction between person and bot.

Secondly the all the augmented reality pieces like the interesting yet some what scary project Augmented Hypercity shows a possible scenario for our digital future. Along with some mass crowd augmented reality projects that have the user interact with the screen as well as the screen interacting with the people in the public space.

Lastly the section on music I found to be a successful project on interactivity, particularly the MO Musical Objects by the Interlude Project. These instruments took the idea of electronic musical instruments and brought back the idea of using ones whole body and movements to create the sound rather than just pressing a button.

But overall I thought the exhibit kind of generally failed when it comes to interactivity. Everything was either behind glass, heavily guarded or plastered with DO NOT TOUCH signs. Then again the exhibit is called Talk to Me so it never really was promising any visitor interactions with the artwork.

Tom Igoe posed three questions for our class to think about as we experienced the Talk to Me exhibit at MOMA and based on what was on display and the help of Chris Crawfords, The Art of Interactive Design, I hope I will be successful in answering these questions to you the readers satisfactory.

How would you define physical interaction?
I believe physical interaction can use any of our 5 senses, or all of them, to communicate with any other device or living creature.

What makes for good physical interaction?
To really have a successful physical interaction the conversation really would ideally be just that a conversation. One person or object stimulates another and then receives a converse reaction in return, and then back again.

Are there works from Talk to Me or others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive?
The Lost Tribes of New York stop motion video really didn’t seem to work under the definition of a interactive digital technology in my eyes. I really only watched and listened, but it really didn’t make me think about what it was trying to say if anything. Also the Pretty Maps, which took city maps and overlaid data visualizations that applied to that area. I think the idea was interesting but the execution really failed and was just confusing and didn’t not really succeed in a interactive way.

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