This is an interactive installation that explores the past, observers the human spirit and evokes an emotional experience for the participant through an immersive environment.
Interactive Table at The Hollocaust Museum in Los Angeles, CA. By Potion Design.
Interactive technology has elevated the user's experience in the way we connect with information. As society continues to communicate through technology (i.e. virtual or mobile devices), physical spaces are now integrated with interactive technology. Using mega multi-touch screens or gestural user interfaces changes the way we experience information as forms of entertainment or connecting with people. Spaces like museums, restaurants, shopping malls and corporate events are now equipped with some kind of a technological interaction making the experience of that space more dynamic and memorable.
While interactive museum installations are typically found in science museums more than historical or cultural museums, this project attempts at making an interactive exhibit about the American experience. Upon completion, this installation will bid for a proposal as an exhibit for the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington DC.
The Great Depression: 1929 - 1940
I have chosen history as the subject to explore in this medium because it's one of my favorite subjects. I believe that history is important, it helps us learn about the past and in doing so improve our future. And if told well, history is beautiful and inspiring
The story and context will be focused on the Great Depression. The examination of the life and times in America from 1929 through 1941. How did this nation survive during those times? How did this nation persevere? What did this perseverance mean to Americans after? What was happening to the youth culture, entertainment industry, farmers from the Midwest, African Americans, the have and have-nots etc. Most importantly, who kept hope alive?
Great Depression + Great Recession
Just a reminiscent of the past. Or we did not learn from the past?
How do we engage with history?
Disconnect Between Americans and Their Own History
As seen in Jay Leno's segment "Jay-Walk".
A method of learning.
Why use an interactive installation for a museum space?
Museums are not places to learn, BUT it's a place that inspires learning. Most history museums need to be upgraded.
Currently a lot of cultural and history museums are still stuck with past technologies. Some that were deemed radical and new dating back as far as 1980s-1990s. They're stale, uneventful and clearly outdated. If spaces are now being revolutionized by current interactive technology, historical museums should be included. Therefore interactive spaces can make a seemingly insipid subject like history, more interesting.
Constant reminders of "No Touching" or "No Photos" creates a barrier and eventually disinterest. Audiences have no sense of engagement.
• Design an experience that captures and prolongs attention.
• With new technology and new media, create a way to generate interest.
On Technology & Content
Museum of Tolerance
The Jewish Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA. Their staging and production quality were impressive. For their interaction style, they've used a passport (which is the participant's Jewish identity) a small rectangular card with a barcode which the participant would scan when going throughout the exhibit. With that type of process, the participant gets to experience what it was like to be Jewish during the Nazi era in Europe. The participant would feel empathy, sympathy, or would like to gain more knowledge about injustice, crimes against humanity.
For style and precision, I've always admired Joachim Sauter's work in both commercial and installations spaces.
Interaction and Visual Design
The participant needs to engage with the life and times of those from 1930s. Just like Joachim Sauter's approach, there needs to be a correlation and dialogue between the object and the visitor.
Preliminary Museum Design Layout
Interactive Wall (First Prototype)
The idea of exploring past lives came to mind. So in this case the participant would choose an item belonging to someone from the 1930s in a form of subject cards. They would then activate the wall with the card to discover that persons life through a ten year scope on the wall, powered by Kinect, OpenFrameworks with coded subject card.
First paper prototype proved that the interactive wall would not work. It occurred to me that upon testing, there would be only one participant at a time engaging with the wall.
Augmented Reality (Second Prototype)
Showcasing the good quality of documentary photography produced at that time, the participant can use their device (tablet or mobile) to interact with the content.
Surviving the Great Depression
The participant will be evaluated with the ultimate test of survival by facing hard facts and making decisions. Facing abandonment, paying rent, dealing with a sick child, making ends meet with .65 while beef is .40 cents a pound.