Collaborating through Interactive Media

Beyond the Threshold by Jeff Brice/ T/Act– empowerment through physical interaction with media art works by Andy Best/ Touch Trace Mirror: Volatile, Collaborative Messaging as a Concept for Creating a Relatedness Experience by Johanna Schmeer/ Creative Zen Learning Space and Community by Jiun-Shian Lin, Su-Chu Hsu, Chi-Hung Tsai, Chia-Wen Chen
Sunday, 18 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:20
Chair Person: 
Dia Hamed

Beyond the Threshold

by Jeff Brice

Immersive virtual reality has shown to alleviate the trauma and pain of burn victims.This paper is about ‘Beyond the Threshold’; a project for students enrolled in my course ‘Interactive Narrative Environments’, taught in the Design Department at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA, USA.  In this project, students collaborate to create imaginative virtual environments that can engage the patient in interesting and aesthetic ways.

Working with Ari Hollander, CEO of the internationally renowned VR studio Firsthand Technology, Seattle, Washington, students use the Unity3D game engine to create simple first person games designed to engage the attention of burn victims and thus help alleviate their pain. This innovative immersive approach in helping patients through VR has been established to bring the pain down for such victims by as much as 75%.

We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with Ari Hollander of Firsthand Technology in order to give the students the opportunity to create interesting game like experiences designed to be aesthetic while serving a vitally important function for medical treatment and making a real difference for people in extreme pain.

Student examples, Research, and interviews will be included in this presentation.

T/Act– empowerment through physical interaction with media art works

by Andy Best

This paper presents my research into the sociological effects of physical interaction with audiovisual systems in controlled interactive environments. Can a disruption or disturbance of insitutionalised conditioning according to class, education, gender and physical abilities be orchestrated by careful design and presentation of the interactive artwork? How can a physical interactive environment facilitate the experience of a temporary autonomous grouping in a similar way to that experienced in online communities? Can the artwork create a community of presence, an opportunity for living in the moment leading to unpredictable (inter)activity within the social group? The artistic TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone) acts as a revealing agent within society using the tools of poetic terrorism to disrupt the status quo.

My research compares interactive environments made for the general population with results from works made through a collaborative design process with selected individuals with severe physical disabilities. Both sets of work encourage and enable creative expression by the participants beyond everyday norms. The aim is to enable deep audience participation in live performance through the control of audiovisual and robotic elements.

By contrasting the generic with the specific, the research uncovers new information about the benefits, desire, and motivation to interact with complex technologically driven systems, as well as proposals for rules and methods for the creation of artistic communities of presence.

Touch Trace Mirror: Volatile, Collaborative Messaging as a Concept for Creating a Relatedness Experience

by Johanna Schmeer

In this paper we introduce the concept of volatile, collaborative messaging as a means of creating a relatedness experience, in this specific context for couples in a long-distance relationship. 

Based upon the idea of message leaving in a romantic relationship, the “Touch Trace Mirror” is a mirror which enables leaving a message on a steamy bathroom mirror over a distance. It is a set of two bathroom mirrors, one to be placed in each partners apartment. Writing a message on one mirror will result in the message being sent to the partners mirror, where a light will emerge on the mirrors surface. If the partner places a finger on the light, it will move, letting the partner trace the message that his or her loved one wrote.

Initial user testing showed that the concept and the aesthetics of the interaction, which developed over two cycles of a user centered design process, seem promising for creating a joyful relatedness experience.

Creative Zen Learning Space and Community

by Jiun-Shian Lin, Su-Chu Hsu, Chi-Hung Tsai, Chia-Wen Chen

In this paper, we survey how to develop a creative Zen learning space and community through interactive technology, digital art, and installation art. This research which has been implemented in Dharma Drum Buddhist College (DDBC) includes “Creative Meditation Room” for teaching Zen meditation and the creative corridors, “z_Move corridor” and “z_Circle corridor”, for learning “walking Zen meditation”.

In “Creative Meditation Room”, we use wireless pressure-sensor technology, bio-sensors, and media art to detect participators’ body balance for assisting them to practice Zen meditation. We gather the participators’ balance data for developing Zen database and infer each participator’s Zen meditation level at the same time. In addition, we also transform participators’ Zen meditation data into ripple animation projected on the ceiling. Zen advisors can easily know each participator’s Zen meditation condition through observing the ripples and then give appropriate directions in time. In creative “z_Move corridor”, participators can start their “concentration practice” when they across the corridor. In this case, we use the chat room communicating technology to create the concentration practice system, which can help participators to learn how to concentrate their attention by moving a “Zen ball” through ten screens. Moreover, we also implement the system in mobile phone to let the participators remotely control the Zen ball’s movement through ubiquitous learning in any place and at any time. In creative “z_Circle corridor”, we use wireless-sensor networks technology and acoustic design to encourage and guide the participators to walk and keep still thought. In addition, the system also make the experienced participators to have more advanced practice of walking meditation at a slow pace and teach them how to maintain a peace mind in their busy daily life. (

Through Zen meditation practice activities in Dharma Drum Mountain, more and more people can immerse in our creative Zen learning space. After the tests and evaluations of user participation, we find out that the creative Zen learning space can not only inspire participator’s interest in Zen meditation but also increase the efficiency of Zen meditation education. Besides, we also develop a creative Zen learning community on Internet called “Zen map” which records all data of Zen meditation students’ learning process. Our creative Zen learning system is not only web e-learning system but also a real space-learning system.

In the future we hope the results of our research can extend to more places and inspire more people to enjoy Zen experience. Moreover, we also hope to realize the concept of Ubiquitous ZEN under cultural context and mind-brain cultivation.