After spending a lot of time considering the video of the users of Reaction to Legalism, I was able to figure out some patterns of behavior. Some that reinforced the project’s intent, and some that were distractions. This lead me to correct some deficiencies in the installation, and focus some of the image and sound interfaces to guide the actions of the users a little more precisely. Previously I had used a blighted door and lock as the UnPles to make the user feel claustrophobic. This did not happen, and lead the user to think of the UnPles as a problem the needed solving. This created a tangential narrative, and detracted from the installation’s intention. For the revision I chose to be a little more blatant. Using the optically physiological discomfort experience while red and blue light is flashing in contrast, I was able to use the same phenomenon used by law enforcement to cause and immediate sense of disorientation, leading to compliance. The Artifact was also changed from being something that you only had to lightly bow to use, to having to full on kneel on the floor to use.
It worked, exactly as expected. The reaction time of the users, from seeking to avoid the UnPles, went from several minutes of “playing around” for a solution, to quickly seeking relief from the oppressive visual and auditory sensations. The users still submitted to being implicated, despite having previous knowledge of what they might experience. I also changed the physical interface in a simple, and impactful way. I used a short throw projector to create a much larger screen on the wall. This made for a much more immersive project.
There were still some technical difficulties upon installation setup that I think could be resolved if there were a dedicated space for students to build out their projects beforehand. The processing power of the computer was still an issue. The audio would “skip” instead of playing back smoothly. In the case of the Ples, this created a distracting texture, pulling the user out of the calming state of brown noise exposure. The delay in setup, also removed the possibility of setting up my DSLR for video documentation of the latest rendition of the project as I was eager to get the installation up and running.
Ultimately, I am very happy with the functionality, and the reaction of the project. I learned a great deal about considering the installation space, and the reactions that users have when encountering the space. There was a new social aspect to the project that I hadn’t encountered in the initial iteration. The use of a more influential UnPles, led to users applying peer-pressure to their fellow users to comply. This was unseen in the initial iteration of the project. It brought out a very substantial talking point about social organization and group psychology. When the individual is experiencing discomfort, they will influence those around them if they feel it will bring an end to their discomfort, even if it means implicating them into an oppressive environment. It is the Crab mentality, we will drown one another if it means we have a chance to escape.
I also learned a great deal about showmanship, or the amount of spectacle to add to an installation. This was proven by the revising of the installation, but also by having the chance to see MSHR at S1 this semester. Their work was very informative in regards to interactive installation design, as well as the performative aspects of a work. I also need to give Ben Glas a solid amount of credit. Our projects ran in a natural parallel regarding Isadora functions, and user reactions. We were able to bounce ideas off of one another. His input was an invaluable part of my discovery.