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Interactive Art // Rokeby

The media artist collective Random International’s Rain Room is an interactive environment that uses motion-detecting cameras in order to track the movements of participants. Pressurized water valves are turned on when physical presence is not detected, and off where it is. Simply put, those who choose to interact with Rain Room become immersed in an open space, surrounded by falling water, all the while remaining relatively dry. It was originally an installation at The Barbican in London, but made its way to The Museum of Modern Art PS1 in 2012 due to its increased popularity. Rain Room prompts the user to test out their new environment, programmed to keep them dry, no matter what their location within the installation. Rokeby suggests that interactive medium’s refract the input they receive. This is quite literally the case with Rain Room. It’s an inviting and open-planned work of art that is both complex in design and simple in presentation.

Future Self is another work by the media artist collective Random International. It studies movement through the human form by creating a new version of the participant represented through LED light. Custom electronics including the LED display were created by a team to produce an installation similar to Rain Room in that it transforms a space through interactive features. The work captures movement of the viewer and generates a representation of their movement through LED light. This work scripts the user to observe their dynamic presence in a whole new light. Their gestures, speed, and general demeanor is translated through light. It is in this installation that Robeky’s mentioning of the “idea of the mirror” being “explicitly invoked” becomes apparent.

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unnamed soundsculpture

When you consider this idea of creating a moving image based on the form of another, the fundamental steps behind its production come into play. This directly relates to the first reading by Charles Petzold. Code can be a series of simple functions that make up a more complex action sequence. What Daniel Franke and Cedric Kiefer have done with “unnamed soundsculpture” is just that. Every inch of movement by the dancer is recorded. The sound in the space surrounded her, too, allowed for this reproduction of her dancing. They managed to take her movements and their effect on the environment around her and translate that into its simplest form, creating a powerful and dynamic simulation.