Last night I spent an insightful Valentine’s evening watching a series of talks on Interaction Design & Technology by This Happened at the V&A.
First up was Ruairi Glynn, a London-based artist and lecturer who spoke about ‘Motive Colloquies’– a collective of artists, engineers and performance artists he leads. Their latest project (currently in development) is ‘Sociable Asymmetry,’ a giant responsive robot made from triangles that interact with its audience’s gestures. It was inspired by a piece called ‘The Promise of Touch,’ which was presented at the Pompidou Centre in Paris in June, 2011.
He discussed the extensive process that was involved in building the robot, and touched on the psychology behind what we perceive as ‘human’ movement. The goal was to make the robot’s appearance inanimate while keeping its movements as human as possible so people will spend more time with the installation.
The robot’s personality will slowly develop as Ruairi collects data from the audience on the movements they most relate to. He will then apply these insights to the robot’s actions to make the experience more engaging.
Up next was a fascinating talk from Marguerite Humeau, a French artist who recently graduated from the RCA’s Design Interactions course. Her project was an extensive journey into resuscitating prehistoric creatures by reconstructing their vocal tracts using recent cloning technologies. These included a mammoth, a hominid called Lucy, and a whale with feet! The only slightly disappointing aspect was that we couldn’t listen to the sounds as they are still being crafted, but the sculptures looked beautiful, and the research process that went into their creation was very impressive.
Last, but by no means least, was Daniel Soltis from the branding company Moving Brands with an innovative use of 3D printing.
He presented an advent calendar for Christmas 2011 that contained chocolates constructed by a RepRap 3D printer. 24 people from across the studio contributed 3D objects that ‘meant something close to their hearts,’ and the team test-printed plastic versions before moving on to the trickier art of chocolate making. Cadbury’s chocolate turned out to be the best brand for the job because of its consistency, along with a generous topping of freezer spray. The end result was a creative way of telling 24 personal stories which were then displayed in the Moving Brands studio window. Daniel also talked about R&D being an important part of their studio, which we can definitely relate to at Digit.