As a precursor to writing about photo-emoticon and as a personal reflection of TILO after just hitting our major development milestone. I have been trawling through my mind considering some key moments in TILO so far. The aspects of the project that we only had a very rough idea about at the start, but have since become unexpected favourites or gained in importance. So off the top of my head.
The hardware channels that allow for computers/ dvd players anything with a basic resolution and hdmi cable to be integrated with TILO. These are key to the openness and flexibility of the system and its ability to schedule media artworks or sophisticated functionality, we originally planned for one, we now have two and are considering other options to increase this still further. Not only that, We have two types
Artist layer 1: can run constantly as a transparent over layer. and allows for interactive experiences to run parallel to all other content. only taking over the whole screen when visitors interact – we are using that for the hand scanner.
Artist layer 2: This treats an artists computer, like any basic content item within a playlist, so we can have a piece of media art displayed for say 10 minutes every hour. One of the enhancements we are looking at would allow a venue to put on a media art event and schedule 10 sophisticated artworks to play alternately on a video wall, with each artwork using its own hardware (computer, sensors, cameras etc..)
The advanced weather:
Or what i like to call the worlds most over engineered and sophisticated transition. Tilo, from the arts organisation perspective has been two projects in one. Firstly creating the platform, cms and functionality to manage and schedule a diverse mix of hybrid content types to display on the screens. Secondly as content creators ourselves, to create mini projects that act as a proof of concept for all that underlying TILO functionality. One important aspect was how we could ensure that at least 50% of the content displayed was generated live. The interactive elements play a big part in this, but their is also a subtler type of content based around live data. The idea of using weather data was an obvious choice, and we definitely went to town on this. We use live local weather data from the BBC combined with hardware temperature and humidity sensors on the “internet of things” ninja block platform. This data is then combined with the time, date, sunset and evening to create keywords that are in turn used to query a curated list of flickr groups to bring back contextual images to form a simple animated visualisation. On paper, this all sounded boringly complicated but the end result is a surprisingly mesmerising and during sunsets even a little romantic.
Its an aspect of Tilo that could easily branch off into a project of its own.
This is just an idea formed out of the project, comparing TILO as a potentiial multi-venue network with an existing public art network like Connecting cities (a network of arts organisation across the world who promote the use of digital screens/projections and art technology in public spaces). They have an annual festival and are also keen on telematic projects that occur simultaneously between networked venues.
I draw some parallels between the organisations activities and MeYouandUs as artists creating ephemeral public art. Tilo was a way of bringing our artistic values and approach into a permanent installation. Our desire to explore media art as public fabric compared to public art as special event.
My hope is that TILO can facilitate a different approach to a network like Connecting cities. So instead of using resources to create one off artist commissions that maybe appear for a short time during a festival before being de-commissioned. These artefacts can become part of an evolving mobile library of media artworks rotating between the networked venues all year round.
Importantly as TILO is based in the public spaces of venues it can run independently of the normal curatorial programme of headline gallery shows that are typically programmed two years in advance
Back to Photo emoticon:
This came out of nowhere, quite late on in the project. I am fond of it because its a simple idea that combines a few different layers, and approaches what we feel is one of the hardest parts of this project. How can we personalise content being displayed based on real visitors? One of our signature art projects has been “Handprint” typically a big event where we collect handprints and project them as a texture in real-time onto large outdoor structures. For Tilo we re-imagined this as a creative way to get visitors to leave their mark and be tempted into becoming members of a venues building.
This became possible when we made a big step forward (ok intel should get some credit, when they released their perceptual computing camera) by creating a much simpler method for capturing handprints. On the right corner of our main screen we have a hand icon permanently displayed and a small scanner. When someone holds their hand by it, the whole screen is taken over by handprints and they can add their own handprint. At the end of the process they are given a url and a qr code, which takes them to a registration page. As part of this process we ask them to pick from a list of 15 popular emoticons, where they are going and who with. On the other side of this project we have made a flickr group “photo-emoticon” where we are collecting pictures of people that fit our 15 emoticons (smile with tongue, party, nerd etc.). Intermittently this allows us to display a combination of a visitors handprint combined with images representing the emotion they felt. Our admin feed shows the simple underlying mechanic
A really exciting development is that we are now in talks with eyeEm a global smartphone photography app and community on a collaboration that would see their members contributing images to the project.
So another example of a TILO born project that could easily become its own project outright with an online and even an app version.