INTERACTIVE REAL-TIME ARTWORK FOR REMOTELY LOCATED AUDIENCES
Artwork under development
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people, particularly those living alone, are without physical contact with others due to social distancing rules. Some people use technology to stay connected. They use it to see others’ faces, hear their voices. Yet digital devices can’t replace human touch. We can’t shake hands, nor hug a friend.
[ i miss your touch ] acknowledges our current cultural condition. It’s an interactive video artwork that connects people who are in separate locations. Each person’s image is abstracted and displayed in a shared, explorable virtual environment. [ i miss your touch ] makes people feel as if they are together in the one space.
We created a prototype of this artwork and invited six people to test it. These people are friends who are each located separately across Victoria. One person said “there were a couple of moments where [my friend] and I gave each other a hug and it was incredible because it felt like they were physically with me.” To interact with this artwork, audiences require basic Internet and a webcam; ie phone or laptop.
[ i miss your touch ] can be presented online or on public screens. Recordings, or real-time feeds, of audience interactions could be displayed on a series of large media surfaces. Ultimately, this artwork operates as an imprint of this extraordinary, ‘isolation moment’ in history.
[ i miss your touch ] does not involve specialised technology such as VR. Through the use of everyday technology (webcams) we transport people into a shared virtual environment. This artwork appears to be simple, yet it involves complex programming (TouchDesigner) in order to allow for the system to feel explorable and for it to be seamlessly accessible to a wide range of people.
[ i miss your touch ] allows PluginHUMAN to used expanded skills. This is our first interactive artwork for remotely located audiences members. We don’t know when people will be able to gather together in large groups, to shake hands, to hug each other. Some people may need to live under strict physical distancing rules until a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 is developed. Therefore there is a real need for more artworks that allow for remotely located audiences to engage with contemporary art.
[ i miss your touch ] is shaped by images of the microscopic qualities of the artists’ own tears. Tears they have shed due to the effects of this global pandemic. This artwork acknowledges the hugely challenging times we are currently facing. People who interact with this artwork are able to dance together, hold each other, or they can simply play together in a shared space.
Betty Sargeant ~ Artist
Justin Dwyer ~ Artist