＃ Interactive Projects
All Colors are
in the Lights
Taichung City, Taiwan
National Taichung Theater: IMAGE Theater
Urban images have been prevailing and even ubiquitous these days. We see representations of cities in digital maps, movies or games, and we often participate in creating urban imageries by posting traveling logs in social media, uploading panorama shots or creating computer game MUDs based on real life locations. However, in terms of actual interaction instead of visual or virtual participation, it is much more difficult to create public engagement in any built urban environment. The more designers and architects put effort into applying complicated algorithms and mechanisms to interactive items, the more it shows that the majority of our surroundings, by its default status, do not interact with people at all.
All Colors Are In The Lights (ACAITL) is an installation that animates the environment via arrangements of images and projections. Without complicated sensing techniques or movable mechanisms, an intuitive light and shadow show with everyday street view images creates an instantly relatable urban experience to the audience. A playful and responsive engagement between an enclosed interior and an open urban spatial environment is presented in a way that invites maximum public participation, whether to interact with the imagery, the projections, or the interior space, individually as well as collectively.
In the seminal book “Image of the City”, Lynch argues that the understanding of cities are formed by our perceptions. From a cognitive psychological point of view, the “imaging” of cities is a form of cognitive mapping: Because of the limitation of cognitive capacity, our brains naturally filter secondary information or background noises to cope with overwhelming information. The imagery in ACAITL represents the selective mechanism in terms of perceiving and conceiving urban spatial information through a three- step procedure— “Documentation”, “Coding”, and “Projection”.
In this phase, we photograph the city with a 360-degree video camera to get comprehensive panoramic shots while moving along the boulevard. The images sampled from the video serves as the foundation to reconstruct the urban experience
Photographic representations of the city are reproduced into a series of color-coded images. Environmental objects are categorized, grouped and layered before colorized in a four- color printing manner, except for that we are painting here with color lights, taking advantage of a RGB color model for its additive nature. A rather complicated coding pattern is established to carefully assign contrasting colors to different groups of visual elements, in order to create overlapping addition of lights. A car would be projected in red and yellow from one projector, as well as cyan and blue from another. If one is to move in front of the two projectors, the car would be seen as white first (no shadow), and then either red or blue (alternative shadows), depending on the relative locations of the viewer blocking the lights.
In the final presentation, multiple projectors are arranged to overlay the color-coded images together to reconstruct the original view of the city. We use the additive model to sum up the primary and secondary colors into white, creating light grey silhouettes that vaguely hints at an urban landscape underneath. This layered visuals await for involvement from participants. When one step in front of one of the projections, the shadow of the person, instead of appearing black for lack of light, unexpectedly reveals the highly contrasted shapes of saturated colors coming from the directions of other projectors. In a sense, this is a “decoding” process, highlighting some of the layers of urban information by blocking the light that “conceals” the colors. Every time someone interacts with the projections by intuitively playing with the shadows, the representation of the city also transforms. Each action, and the visual reaction, is unique.
ACAITL applies ambisonic technology to create an audio environment that also contributes to the immersive spatial experience. While the visual images work as stop-frame slideshow animation (each frame lasting 4 seconds), the audio is played back in real time, creating an instantly recognizable urban backbeat. It brings a dynamic sensation of spatiality and excitement, as if witnessing a head-on vehicle passing through from the front to the rear. Urban ambient sounds are recorded using an all-directional microphone, and then mixed with electronic beats and noises. Recognizable patterns and site-specific sounds are carefully mixed to juxtapose with the visuals of city landmarks. The final audio work is played through six channels to create a surrounding audio environment to enhance the movement of the visual as well as the flowingnsensation in the space.
London, United Kingdom
This workshop was designed as a way to explore the perception of emotions in adolescents through colours and characters/emojis and how these are interpreted through witnessing an improv scene.
The activity is a combination of colourful shadow play and puppet tracing. It covered various layers of creative activities — from personal drawing to cooperative acting. Using props and shadows provided a sense of security by diverting attention from the individual to the projection. Meanwhile, separate colour shadows can be created with only one puppet, allowing the participants to visualise the multiple aspects of a single character.
- Pictures of celebrities and emojis
- Transparency sheets
- Marker pens
- Colour filter sheets
- Mentees were previously asked to create templates to be used in an improv scene (not necessary for all mentees to create templates) and to discuss with mentors any potential scenarios or stories. Mentees are also to be informed that they are not required to impersonate their chosen celebrity and are welcome to use their own voice if they choose to volunteer.
- Explain to mentees that two characters at a time will be projected to create an improv scene. The first scene will be acted out by the mentors and then the mentees can volunteer to take part using either their own figures or pre-made ones. The mentees will be given the scenario in advance and will have to improvise the scene.
- Finally, the mentors distribute printed out emojis around the room. The mentors will then explain that after each scenario has been enacted, students will be asked to choose the emoji they feel most matches one of the characters, and then asked again to choose for the other character. The emojis are not to be used during the improv scene but after. A range of emojis (5-10) will be used and multiple of each one printed.
- Explain to the mentees the scene: There are two characters, for the purpose of this example, they will be called character 1 and character 2. Character 1 will be projected sitting on a bench. They have nowhere that they need to go to and nothing that they need to do. Character 2 will then be projected onto the bench and will be asked to speak to them in whichever way seems most appropriate. For the purpose of this demonstration, no colour filter is to be used on the torch. The first scenario will initially be demonstrated by the mentors and can last anytime from 1 minute to 5 minutes. The ending of the scene will be determined by a mentor who is a non-participant.
- Interpretation of improv using emoji: Mentees will be asked to choose an emoji that they feel is most relatable to character 1. Mentors will then ask if any mentees would like to volunteer why they chose their respective emoji. This will be repeated for character 2. If mentees are still engaged, a further emoji can be chosen to reflect the improv scene as a whole.
- 2 mentees will be chosen to either use their own templates or use a pre-made one. The mentees will not have prior knowledge of what scenario they will be given, however, mentee ideas can be incorporated into the improv scenario designed by the mentors. The previous scenario carried out by the mentors can be repeated.
- In case of emergency or mentors feel that there is danger or risk: Mentors can bring in more characters and change the theme.
- The final activity will take one celebrity/figure and use different colour filters (See figure 2) to alter the shadow colour. No dialogue is necessary as during this exercise the students will be asked to choose the emoji they think matches the colour of the character. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate the change in our perception of emotions when different colours are chosen.
- Baim, C., Brookes, S. & Mounford, A. (2002). Chapter 3, ‘Guidelines for Structuring Drama-Based Work’. Geese Handbook: Drama for Offenders and People at Risk. Hook, Hant: Waterside Press.
- Calero, A.D., Barreyro, J.P. & Injoque-Ricle, I. (2018). Emotional Intelligence and Self Perception in Adolescents. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 14(3), 632-643
- Wilms, L. & Oberfeld, D. (2018). Colour and emotion: effects of hue, saturation and brightness. Psychological Research, 82, 896-914.