SHY ART SHOW | CONCEPT DESIGN

Interactive Exhibition Promosal, VR Prototype (March 2017 - October 2017)
Role: Experience Designer

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Shy Art Show is a proposal for an art exhibition presenting a collection of ‘shy’ objects that actively avoid being photographed. The goal of the exhibition is to force the viewer to become aware of their process of experiencing the artwork and take time to appreciate the objects on display without the distraction of mobile phones.

The artwork in the Shy Art Show exhibition embraces contemporary technologies and uses them to better engage the viewer. It allows its audience to interact with the artworks, evoking emotional responses, humor and giving the artwork a behavior of its own. The key effectiveness of this body of work lies in its juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity and the interactivity between the objects created and their audience.

Tools Used
Photoshop, Maya, Unreal Engine 4

 
 

 

THE IDEA

The idea for the Museum of Shy Art arises from my interest in the relationship between museum visitors and the artwork. In today’s world where digital photography is absolutely ubiquitous, we take pictures of everything, most of it for no real reason at all.  Photography critic Jörg M. Colberg has described this as “compulsive looking,” arguing that “the act of photography might have turned into the equivalent of whistling a song, something you do, something that might or might not have beauty, a communicative act just as much as an affirmative act: I was there, and me being there means I had to photograph it”.

Two studies examined whether photographing objects impacts what is remembered about them. Participants were led on a guided tour of an art museum and were directed to observe some objects and to photograph others. Results showed a photo-taking-impairment effect: If participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and remembered fewer details about the objects and the objects’ locations in the museum than if they instead only observed the objects and did not photograph them. 

My observation of the viewer-artwork interaction inspired me to create the proposal for the Shy Art Show and led me to my first idea for a shy object – a piece of artwork that cannot be photographed. The object would sense movement near it or in the room and either hide or alter its appearance upon detecting any motion. In order to see the object on display, the visitor would have to stand motionless in front of the piece for at least 5 seconds. By creating this new kind of relationship between the object and the viewer, I am hoping to encourage museum goers to spend enough time with each individual piece and actually see and appreciate the artwork. Hopefully, this unique convergence of art and technology and the playful way in which the artworks interact with viewer, would delight their public, making them smile and enjoy the works.

 

THE ARTWORK

Interactive art has become much more common as a result of the many ways in which the computer and the Internet have facilitated it. The objects in Shy Art Show are created with a consciousness of the networks within which they exist, from conception and production to dissemination and reception.

As my first physical artwork, I would like to create a photograph or a painting, located in a dark corner of the gallery space, that would emanate bright white light upon detecting a picture being taken of it (detecting a flash and reflecting it). For the paintings hanged in bright parts of the gallery where flash photography would not be necessary, I would implement Kinect sensors with face detection that would see the person using their camera or mobile device to take picture and emanate bright white light as well.

shy art show_pics.png

The second set of art objects would use motion detecting sensors to see the movement of viewers in its close proximity. I would like to build a sculpture, a black cube, that would change its shape and become flat if the viewers stand too close to it. The sculpture would run on Arduino and motors, and would use proximity sensors to detect the viewer. Following this idea, I would install multiple LCD screens with Arduino and motion sensors attached to their sides, displaying still images. Upon movement detection, Arduino would run an algorithm that would distort the images through pixilation.

Thirdly, I will create objects that can be viewed only by standing absolutely still in front of them. To achieve that, I will use Arduino, motors, and motion sensors and apply a timer to the Arduino code that would count the time spanned between movement detection.

The viewer-aware picture frames are inspired by the works of Aparna Rao.