After testing my piece in two different environments I was ready to display my piece in the public foyer. I chose to display my work at the TV screens by the entrance of the foyer as I had learnt from previous testing that the main footfall is through this entrance. Therefore I had a greater potential audience to the piece.
During the testing I tried to make the sketch fit to the full TV screen, however Processing would crash whenever I tried to do this. I think this is because my sketch is still not fully optimized (which I have had problems with earlier.) However not having the sketch completely full screen meant that it ran faster and had a border, which in my opinion, added to the visual quality of the piece and added to the symbolism I mentioned earlier about the sketch being a hyper-real world that is removed from physical reality. The border has connotations of looking through a window, putting a barrier between this world and the next.
Reaction to the piece was overwhelmingly positive with students walking through the space being happy to interact with it. When I informally asked people about the piece they said it was “interesting” and “fun to control”. Some users even made a game of the piece, by attempting to gain control of the flock of birds from other users. Unfortunately my testing time in the environment was quite short, so I could not get the record responses from as full a range of people as I would have liked. However ever people who seemed quite busy, and were rushing to get somewhere, stopped to look at the piece.
One of the initial concerns I had was that the piece would visually blend into the space, but thanks to the paper texture I implemented, it stood out amongst the wealth of colours and general busy motion of the foyer.
I was also interested in the work of my classmates who were also testing the space. One sketch in particular that stood out to me, (and I am afraid I do not remember who made it!) was a sketch where the user was followed by a “ghost” of themselves. The sketch was very fun to interact with and was a clever interpretation of the motion detection sketch from Daniel Shiffman that I studied earlier, and it was interesting to see different outcomes from similar starting points of study. It was also interesting to see the range of different technique people had used for their sketches, especially when people had used the Minim library to utilize the sound in the space and process it into visuals. Their work has inspired me to try and remember to look into using the library if I were to work in Processing again.
If I had more time to develop the project, I would try and implement a feature where different kinds of birds would flock to different people. This would end the problem of the birds being all bunched up in the flock and also add a touch of personalisation to the way it is presented to the audience. I would try and build more complex birds from different shapes and fully optimize the sketch to solve any speed issues. A more longer project option would be to utilize the Open Kinect library so I could utilize the skeleton and hand tracking functions it has to try and give the user greater control over the flock of birds. Then I could try and make 3D versions of the birds and have them move through the z-axis of the space rather than existing on a 2D plane.
Overall I am happy with the way the project went, although there were a few technical issues I could still improve.
I am glad that on the whole, the audience seemed to enjoy my piece and it was utilized well in the space.
Minim, 2015. Minim: An Audio Library for Processing Available at: http://code.compartmental.net/tools/minim/ [Accessed 20.01.2015]
Open Kinect, 2015.Open Kinect Available at: http://openkinect.org/wiki/Main_Page [Accessed 20.01.2015]