Virtual Intangible Interaction Gallery
Last updated: Apr 2, 2020
I visited the Virtual Intangible Interaction Gallery’s exhibit “Seeing Machines,” featuring works by Zach Lieberman and by Golan Levin. Both artists work primarily in interactive pieces based on camera data. I like a lot of these pieces, and I’m interested in the fact that the chosen medium of video interaction seems to have had a significant effect on the tone of the pieces. Despite visual and thematic differences that separate Hag-Seed, Footfalls, and Mas Que la Cara, they create a similar interaction pattern between the feedback and the viewer. Most viewers seem to begin with their arms outstretched, waving and shaking to get the maximum amount of feedback and interaction out of the work.
The table pieces—by which I mean The Manual Input Station, Reflection Studies, and Augmented Hand Studies—also share a great deal, despite differences in space and appearance. In some respect, the similarity here seems to come from the placement of the camera. I like these, from the simple weirdness of the Augmented Hand to the simulated light system of Reflection Studies.
Then I would connect Mas Que la Cara and Reface, both of which are centered around a viewer’s face. The interaction is sort of a subset of the first category: here the expression of the viewer is limited to their face.
The two pieces left are Eyewriter and Double-Taker (Snout). I think these are my favorite of all of the pieces, and I’m not sure why yet. I think the distance between the camera and the viewer plays a role, and I think the directness of Eyewriter (the camera is a tool for allowing the eyes to write) and the indirectness of Snout (a viewer is not seeing their movements reflected, but reacted-to) are compelling for some extra reason. I think for me, as someone who sees a lot of works like these, I know what it’s like to use them, and the kind of puzzle of their interaction lacks novelty or excitement. Snout and Eyewriter though, in opposite directions, are pieces where the camera has enabled some other thing.
Look at the kids waving at the Snout! Look at the adults doing it! That’s great. It’s an excellent piece for the brief interaction the entryway affords. I really want to know what it would look like for an hour.