[ISEA97] Paper: Glorianna Davenport, Stefan Agamanolis, Brian Bradley, Joe Paradiso & Sammy Spitzer – At the Edge of Dream World: Media Encounters in Architectural Venues


Keywords: situated media, very distributed storytelling, sensors as interactive input, transcultural icons as narrative, society of audience.

The Dream Machine is a new collaborative work currently under development by the Interactive Cinema Group at the MIT Media Lab. The project forms a highly-distributed narrative presence which spans and interconnects three widely different modes of presentation: the World Wide Web, a network of pagers, and large-scale multimedia installations situated in “live” architectural spaces.
The Dream Machine uses the techniques of cinema, theater, and architectural space design to improvisationally craft a playful, lyrical, emergent story experience in close collabo¬ration with its audience of”co-actors.” Interpersonal com¬munications are enhanced as participants (individuals and groups) shape and navigate their way through personaliz¬able, information-rich environments and dynamically adaptive, emergent stories. Social and narrative meaning emerges through interactions with:
•    interesting transcultural characters;
•    personal dream submission, processing, and presentation;
•    information ecologies, geologies, and geographies.

In this paper, we focus primarily on the purpose, structure, technology, and content of the live sites. Arrays of sensors alert the system to the presence and activities of passers¬by; large-scale rear-screen projections and sophisticated audio respond dynamically to the signals from these sensors, orchestrated by Isis, a new media scripting language.

  • Glorianna Davenport, USA, is Principal Research Associate at the MIT Media Lab of which she is a founding member. In 1988, she formed the Interactive Cinema Group to research and prototype digital media experiences in which narration is split among authors, consumers and computer mediators.Trained as a documentary filmmaker, Davenport’s stories focus on reinforcing the human desire to learn with and about each other. Davenport is a recent receipient of the Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship for excellence in the arts at MIT. Davenport’s work in customizable, person­alizable storyteller systems has resulted in inventions at the interface (micons, video streamer, contextual selec­tion, concept maps, elastic media), innovations in story form (evolving documentary, stories”with a sense themselves,” and transformational environments), and explorations of issues inherent in the collaborative co-con­struction of digital media. Davenport has taught, lectured and published internationally on the subjects of interactive multimedia and story construction.
  • Brian Bradley, USA, is a masters candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory. His research focuses on story and character engines for very distributed stories. Bradley’s research in story metaphor resulted in the core conceit of the Dream Machine’s Web site. Bradley holds an undergraduate degree from MIT.
  • Joe A. Paradiso, USA, INTERACTIVE CINEMA GROUP, MIT MEDIA LABORATORY, Massachusetts, USA. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Physics from Tufts University in 1977,and a Ph.D. in Physics at MIT in 1981. From 1981-1983 he was at the Laboratory for High-Energy Physics at ETH in Zurich, where he developed precision particle trackers for the L3 experi­ment at CERN. During 1984-1994, he was at the Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, where he conducted research in spacecraft control systems, image processing, sonar sen­sors, and high-energy physics detectors for the Superconducting Supercollider. He was a visitor at ETH in 1991 and 1992, to develop fast pattern recognition systems for proposed detectors at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Since 1994, he has been a research scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his interests include the develop­ment of new sensors for human-computer interaction.
  • Stefan Agamanolis (U.S.A.) is doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory where he is creating new tools and languages for utilizing computational media for collaboration and artistic expression. His research led him to design the Isis media scripting environment in which the Dream Machine public installations have been prototyped. Before coming to the Media Lab, Agamanolis studied computer science, philosophy, and film at Oberlin College.
  • Sammy Spitzer, USA. splay.com/samuelspitzer.pdf

Full text p.12-15