Tag Archives: performance practitioners

Digital art explores what makes us human

Computer scientists and digital artists have combined their skills to create an interactive piece of art that reacts to users’ personalities.

Dr John Shearer, from the School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, UK, and digital artists at Newcastle University are using technology to help focus the mind and make sense of the chaos around us.

Although an impressive artwork in its own right, the Eye Resonator also gives away subtle clues about our personalities without us even noticing.

Created by Dr Shearer and Dr Brigitta Zics, this interactive ecosystem is boring for some and thrilling for others, reacting to an individual’s gaze by changing visuals, temperature, sound and lighting accordingly.

To begin with, a large copper dome is placed over the person’s head, which calibrates the system for an individual’s eyes. They are then presented with a series of swarming images on the screen in front of them, which they control simply by their eye movement.

The copperplate work of the ‘cupola’ or dome, which is the centrepiece of the artwork, contains within it complex technology which has taken years to perfect.

By detecting subtle behavioural changes, Eye Resonator stimulates a process of self-observation by guiding the visitor through a sequence of experiences and feedback loops.

During the experience, which lasts from about two to ten minutes, pupil dilation and behavioural shifts are tracked as people try to control increasingly complex swarms on the screen in front of them – from a flock of birds through to insects or fish and onto plankton.

They can pass onto the next level once they have managed to control that particular swarm until they reach an optimum state where they are completely immersed in the visuals in front of them.

Dr Shearer, whose work focusses on understanding how people interact with computer technology, said: “I approach human-computer interaction from a slightly different perspective – that of how people interact with the finished product, not how it is created. For me, the Eye Resonator is very much about the meditative experience and the technology is simply a tool for creating this.

“This piece uses an eye-tracker, which as well as giving the location of where you are looking and the speed at which your eyes move, also picks up pupil dilation. It can assess how excited someone is which is one of a variety of measures that dictates their experience.”

Dr Zics added: “We’re inviting people to step back and reflect in a way that we rarely do – much the same way as meditation does. It’s a chance to step out of life for a few minutes and just be with yourself. Technology is always moving towards a better user experience, so why not art galleries too? Art needs to be more responsive to people who are engaging with it and this work is really pushing that, looking to understand better what makes us human.”

People can experience Eye Resonator for themselves at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab between 3-5 June 2014. For more information visit the Eye Resonator website.

Computer scientists and digital artists have combined their skills to create an interactive piece of art that reacts to users’ personalities.

Dr John Shearer, from the School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, UK, and digital artists at Newcastle University are using technology to help focus the mind and make sense of the chaos around us.

Although an impressive artwork in its own right, the Eye Resonator also gives away subtle clues about our personalities without us even noticing.

Created by Dr Shearer and Dr Brigitta Zics, this interactive ecosystem is boring for some and thrilling for others, reacting to an individual’s gaze by changing visuals, temperature, sound and lighting accordingly.

To begin with, a large copper dome is placed over the person’s head, which calibrates the system for an individual’s eyes. They are then presented with a series of swarming images on the screen in front of them, which they control simply by their eye movement.

The copperplate work of the ‘cupola’ or dome, which is the centrepiece of the artwork, contains within it complex technology which has taken years to perfect.

By detecting subtle behavioural changes, Eye Resonator stimulates a process of self-observation by guiding the visitor through a sequence of experiences and feedback loops.

During the experience, which lasts from about two to ten minutes, pupil dilation and behavioural shifts are tracked as people try to control increasingly complex swarms on the screen in front of them – from a flock of birds through to insects or fish and onto plankton.

They can pass onto the next level once they have managed to control that particular swarm until they reach an optimum state where they are completely immersed in the visuals in front of them.

Dr Shearer, whose work focusses on understanding how people interact with computer technology, said: “I approach human-computer interaction from a slightly different perspective – that of how people interact with the finished product, not how it is created. For me, the Eye Resonator is very much about the meditative experience and the technology is simply a tool for creating this.

“This piece uses an eye-tracker, which as well as giving the location of where you are looking and the speed at which your eyes move, also picks up pupil dilation. It can assess how excited someone is which is one of a variety of measures that dictates their experience.”

Dr Zics added: “We’re inviting people to step back and reflect in a way that we rarely do – much the same way as meditation does. It’s a chance to step out of life for a few minutes and just be with yourself. Technology is always moving towards a better user experience, so why not art galleries too? Art needs to be more responsive to people who are engaging with it and this work is really pushing that, looking to understand better what makes us human.”

People can experience Eye Resonator for themselves at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab between 3-5 June 2014. For more information visit the Eye Resonator website.

Dr John Shearer
Dr John Shearer

Research network to attend creative showcase

A new research network, which will bring together games developers, performance practitioners and academics, has been invited to attend a national Research Council showcase event.

The Videogames Research Network has been set up by the Games Research Group at the University of Lincoln, UK, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It is part of a wider initiative to develop the creative industries and put Britain back at the forefront of creative technology.

Members of the network including Patrick Dickinson, Duncan Rowland, Kate Sicchio and Grethe Mitchell from Lincoln, will be attending the AHRC Creative Economy Showcase at King’s Place Conference Centre, London, on 12th March, 2014.

Targeted at policy-makers and business leaders in the creative industries, the conference will highlight the vital relationship between the arts and humanities research base and the UK’s creative economy, and raise the profile of the creative and cultural sector.

Keynote speakers will include the Rt Hon David Willetts, the Rt Hon Ed Vaizey, Sebastian Conran (designer), Professor Judy Simons (Emeritus Professor, De Montfort University), Dr David Docherty (CEO, National Centre for Universities and Business) and Professor Rick Rylance (CEO, AHRC).

Dr Patrick Dickinson, project leader and senior lecturer in the School of Computer Science, said: “The concept of performance in videogames is something that has not been fully explored in terms of innovative mechanics in a commercial setting. We want to take a fresh look at this from the perspective of performing arts research and practice, using them to develop new game design ideas. The Creative Economy Showcase will be a great opportunity for us to engage with relevant organisations and introduce the network, which officially starts on 17th March.” 

There will be three inter-disciplinary workshops in Lincoln and Nottingham in the UK and Brisbane, Australia, where researchers working in games studies, human computer interaction and technical aspects of game development will work with developers and performance researchers/practitioners to prototype new collaborative game ideas.

The Lincoln workshop is taking place on 25th and 26th March.