In this artists talk we will discuss the conceptual, aesthetic and technical dimensions of the work titled Charmed. The presentation will also discuss how the production process, creative practice, raised critical questions about the nature of the form of the work and production methods.
Charmed is an interactive computational media adaptation of images by Priscilla Bracks, from a series titled Refugee from the Human State. These images form a series of virtual worlds that can be accessed via three glowing resin pods. A video tracking device monitors movement enabling the viewer to become a giant influencing the lives of the tiny animated people. By tapping on the screen you cause them to behave in surprising, funny, perplexing, uncanny, and disarming ways.
This work posed many challenges, including: how to maintain the original visual aesthetic of the series of images; how to design an interface that was conceptually suitable for the work and added meaning to the work. The result is a playful, ludic interface, which is modelled on one of the visual motifs that is present throughout the original series of images.
The touch sensitive screens of Charmed offer intimate views into a virtual world accessed via three glowing resin pods. Each pod provides an entry point to inhabitants of suburban neighbourhoods, apartment buildings and city spaces. Within these highly evolved snow domes, a black and white linear aesthetic depicts a world populated by mesmerized figures carrying out the routine tasks required of their environments. Haptic gestures, like touching or tapping, provide a pathway into the spaces and a connection with the cultures, uncovering the diminutive details of the lives of these animated figures.
Touching the screen can break the spell and provoke change. Repeated tapping can cause chaos, disrupting lives, forcing computers to malfunction and causing traffic accidents. Tapping can impact inhabitants, even causing a man to drink so much that the inevitable happens and he wets his pants. In Charmed each portal offers an impression of omnipotence as private lives and public spaces are exposed and controlled by our touch.
Charmed is an Experimenta New Visions Commission. Artists: Gavin Sade, Priscilla Bracks, Matt Dwyer. kuuki.com.au/projects/charmed
- Gavin Sade (Australia) Lecturer in Interactive media design, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Full text (PDF) p. 399-401