SXSW ’09 Interactive Way-finding Projection

The following is a pitch that was a true collaboration between myself and Brian Bowman, while both of us were CD’s at Digital Kitchen.  The core part of my contribution was the way-finding concept, design and functionality (The Dynamic Layer) while Brian’s was the Interactive Content.  Together we worked out how the Interactive Content could be interacted with.   It was very close to a reality, but by the time the festival had the right sponsor on board it was too close to launch to pull it off.  For those of you who have been to SXSW, I think you’ll really appreciate this interactive way-finding projection.

Realtime MusicFilmInteractive Hub

Interactive Wayfinding is a live interactive projection screen offering relevant and current SXSW event information as it happens. The screens are located at the heart of the festival, the corner of San Jacinto Blvd. and E 6th St. and potentially a second location at the convention center.

2 Layers: Dynamic Layer + Interactive Content

The projection itself is comprised of two parts. Layer 1 is a dynamic information layer with event listings, venue schedules, map directions and twitter interactivity. Layer 1 is about getting relevant information to the user immediately. Layer 2 is interactive content designed to entertain an audience, engaging the user in an experience.

Dynamic Layer

The dynamic layer will serve as a high profile filter that will illuminate attendees on the vast array of activities and events during the duration of the festival they may otherwise overlook or miss. This way finding application is comprised of three parts: a news, events, and features feed on the left side; a user-query based interactive location tool on the right side; a highlights and instructional overlay in the middle.

The left column feed will consist of the most recent updates posted on Official SXSW feeds, events/activities based on time of day and day of the week including special events and public after parties, and highlights of additional interactive tools and relevant messaging that can help attendees make the most of their stay. Each item, where appropriate will be color coded to reflect which part for the festival it comes from (e.g. orange = interactive.) Any event/activities that have a particular location related to it, will have a simple shortcode that users can submit from a mobile device to find directional information in the way finding area on the right hand column.

The right column will display the results of location/event queries submitted by mobile devices in a first-come-first-serve manner. Each one will be highlighted in the appropriate festival color and display the user’s ID/’handle to call out the personal request to a users attention. Contained in each result is a snapshot map of where an event is taking place in relation to the installation and the travel distance to that event. Additional information, like shuttle details, can also be added.

The highlights and instructional section in the center would transition after set period of time on top of the interactive video layer to highlight a variety of events and messages. In addition to offering simple instructional information, the center layer would call out events and locations with specific context helping to filter through the countless festival offerings. Featuring specific events, types of events, mapping respective locations of film/music/interactive venues, event schedules for specific locations, and events based on interest level will help visitors to not only get to where they are going but to discover new activities and events. During transitions between the informational layer and the interactive content layer – a branded sponsor animation will trigger, bringing to attention the brand that brought art and technology together to both entertain and inform.

Interactive Content

We have two approaches for the interactive content. The first concept, TweetTitle uses a decidedly live action twitter-centric strategy while the second idea, PunkAnalogue is based on a punk inspired interactive experience. Both of these ideas work seamlessly with the Dynamic Layer.

TweetTitle

Drawing upon a Christopher Guest style of shooting (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) combined with old-school photo studio backdrops, two actors will re-present broad genres of film. Each segment uses close-ups, simulated wide shots, freeze frames (actors simply staying as still as possible), and numerous wardrobe changes. Action shots will be things like running in place while in front of a forest backdrop.    Integration with Twitter (or SMS) becomes imperative as phrases like, “All your base (username) now belong to us.” speak directly to members in the audience. Through-out the day, randomized story paths will enable the characters to re-contextualize each set-up rather than repeating the same linear story on a loop.

Proximity sensors could trigger a jump cut of the actors looking out into the audience (breaking the 4th wall), but this is optional.

PunkAnalogue

In an alternate universe, punk rock’s outlet was computer programming motivated by music. This synergistic conflation creates odd offspring. PunkAnalogue marries Sid Vicious with clean generative programming to make this feel like a bastard lovechild of film + interactive + rock-n-roll.  Central to the PunkAnalogue concept is the exposition of process. How do you ready-make something while ignoring the rules? Starting with scripted and computer generated geometries we will print out a series of animated segments, rebuild them and then photograph the sequence. The process itself will generate it’s own set of unexpected anomalies. Inserting other unexpected techniques, such as representing the 3D generative using folded paper or chipboard (like an architecture model) will add an additional layer of surprising depth and richness.

Using proximity sensors and possibly motion detection, the analogue animations react as festival attendees approach. A library of behaviors respond to audience movement and closeness to the projection wall.