Interactive City: Baby We’re the New Romantics…

the best people in life are free
“…the best people in life are free.”

First of all, many thanks to Taylor Swift’s amazing lyric in the song New Romantics. I love her.

This project is a public interactive text installation. The text will be projected on the wall of a hallway or any places that people might walk by, presumably in Heimbold. As people walk by, the word “free” would appear with a floral filling and neon tint. When they pass the installation, the word “free” will disappear again, unless someone constantly makes movement in front of the installation or someone else passes by.

(Possible installation cites for this project)
Possible installation cites for this project.

I expect people to notice the importance of “free” in this sentence, since it opens to multiple interpretations. I also expect them to be curious when they see the dormant state of the installation: a unfinished sentence. They might try and fill in the blanks in their mind (or they just know this song). As they walk by, they would know the answer, which changes color to attract their attention. What they think after the word shows up is what this artwork left them with.

The behind-the-scene code for this installation is the webcam motion detector. I set up a threshold to determine whether something is moving in front the webcam. The motion detector also determines the word’s neon tint by using the average of movement as a parameter for the tint color.

I was inspired by many of Jenny Holzer’s works, which all have simple typography designs but are really powerful. Besides, her uses of projection in installations make me feel the contrast between light and dark as well as the distortable nature of projection on objects. Her quotes are concise but powerful, which I think might have larger impact on audiences under the way she installs the quotes.

(How would people react to this installation?)
How would people react to this installation?

In my opinion, this project represents de Wall’s ideology of urban flaneurs. My project is hugely different from promotional materials that always appear on the walls of Heimbold. I try to address to the importance of serendipity and curiosity in a city in correspondence to the concept’s criticism of commercial applications of urban media, so that flaneurs (solitary and thoughtful strollers) can experience wonder, surprise, confusion, or dislocation (de Waal 9-10). I would be grateful if someone could stop to think about the best people they met in their lives, or whether they are free themselves.

…And I would be more than grateful if someone knows where this line comes from.

Author: Yuci Zhou