The increased reliance on virtual platforms to connect with others due to the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the limitations of current technologies in creating human connections. Compared to in-person communication, video calling or text messaging prevents users from translating another’s facial expression and recognizing emotion, often resulting in unfulfilling connections. In this study, we will create two synchronous art installations in Pittsburgh and San Francisco. By utilizing interactive buttons as inputs that will activate exciting colorful outputs, we seek to answer how these long distance users can playfully communicate through tactile senses. Using a matrix of interactive buttons, we will display colorful lights on the walls. Since the two displays are mirroring each other, the participants will be interacting and collaborating on a shared canvas. Through exploring unconventional modes of interaction between a user and a communicating system, we aim to determine what features can be added to current technologies for more fulfilling connections over virtual platforms.
This project was made possible with support from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier microgrant #2022-022.