[ i miss your touch ] 2020

A Virtual Interactive Video Experience

Good Design Award Winner 2020

Melbourne Knowledge Week, Australia, May 2021

Be_Hear/Now Festival, City of Ballarat, November 2020

Artplay, City of Melbourne, July 2020

[ i miss your touch ] by PluginHUMAN is real time art. This virtual interactive video experience transports two people who are in separate locations into a shared virtual environment. This award-winning online platform launched in March 2020 as a rapid response to pandemic conditions. It helps people maintain meaningful social and physical connections and provides a personalised art experience. It also provides the experience of virtual touch. [ i miss your touch ] makes people feel as if they are together in one space.

[ i miss your touch ] is a live collaboration between the participants and the PluginHUMAN artists (Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer). The artwork responds to people’s movements in real time. PluginHUMAN affect live video streams from participants’ webcams. People can instantly see the creative effects of their movements and interactions. It allows friends, who are in separate locations, to dance, to virtually hug and to interact in a shared online environment. [ i miss your touch ] provides a way to maintain meaningful human connections and meaningful art engagement.

HOW IT WORKS

Participants book a time and are emailed a unique URL. Each experience is 10-minutes. People can book a solo experience (one of the artists joins them, via webcam), or a double booking (they elect a friend and together, via webcam, they engage with the artwork). Participants need a computer with a built-in webcam and internet connection.

During their allocated time participants are given access to the [ i miss your touch ] web platform. They see their own video stream, the video stream of the other person, and the compiled animated vision of themselves and the other person moving together. Participants hear the same music but cannot talk to each other. This artwork encourages people to communicate via movement.

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Two participants moving within the [ i miss your touch ] interactive video experience.

INNOVATION

The aim was to create a unique online interactive artwork that’s accessible to broad audiences. Participants don’t need specialist equipment or skills. This work is seemingly simple. Yet it involves complex programming in order to allow people to appear together in real-time in a single, shared virtual environment. This virtual environment allows people to explore and experience virtual touch. It provides the feeling that you are actually physically together in one location. Participants don’t need to download software nor login. [ i miss your touch ] is accessible to anyone with a computer, a webcam and internet connection. Through this work PluginHUMAN democratises access to progressive, real-time, interactive virtual environments that provide the experience of virtual touch.

This artwork is not delivered on a website. [ i miss your touch ] is ephemeral and operates in real-time. Participants access a web platform (a custom-coded cloud hosted Node.js app spot). The artwork is streamed to each participant via a unique URL in real-time. The video stream is compiled in TouchDesigner using Python and it is manually effected in real-time by PluginHUMAN. The outcome is a live collaboration between the participants and the artists.

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Two people interacting withe the real time artwork [ i miss your touch ]

RELATED ACADEMIC PAPER

Designing for Virtual Touch: A Real-Time Co-Created Online Art Experience

CREDITS

Betty Sargeant ~ Artist, Producer, Creative Director

Justin Dwyer ~ Artist, Creative Director, Technical Director

Peter Walker ~ Creative Coder

Andrew Ogburn ~ Music

Thanks to Casper Plum

Thanks to the Exertion Games Lab, Monash University, Australia.

A version of this artwork was developed specifically for 9-12 yr-old children. The children’s version of this artwork is called [ you and me ]. Thanks to Artplay and City of Melbourne.

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[ i miss your touch ] makes people feel as if they are together in the same space.

RELATED VIDEO ARTWORKS

PluginHUMAN have created a series of video artworks. [ i miss your touch ] is part of a wider body of work. Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer have created five video artworks that provide interactive experiences for people and organic ecosystems. These include the projection mapping video artwork CONCEAL and the carbon art video project CAPTURE.

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PluginHUMAN: Justin Dwyer and Betty Sargeant.

ABOUT PluginHUMAN

PluginHUMAN is a multi-award-winning art duo led by Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer. PluginHUMAN are at the progressive edge of their field, providing audiences with new cultural, environmental and scientific perspectives. Their artworks address the leading questions and concerns of our times.

PluginHUMAN’s real time art centres around the art of illumination. They create projection mapping, video artworks, and led immersive multi-sensory environments. They use the medium of light to translate complex data into meaningful audience experiences.

PluginHUMAN has created commissioned artworks for institutions such as the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea), Questacon (Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre), the Melbourne Museum (White Night Festival, Australia) and Experimenta (Australian triennial touring media art exhibition). They have exhibited in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. PluginHUMAN were awarded the Rupert Bunny Foundation Visual Art Fellowship (2019/20); they’re developing new carbon neutral and carbon negative materials and working methods. They have also won Good Design Awards (2020 and 2018), and a Victorian Premier’s Design Award (2017).

PluginHUMAN has an acute understanding of the role that technology plays in contemporary society. They reimagine new technologies to produce artistic innovations, creating meaningful large and small scale audience experiences for indoor spaces and outdoor public arenas. They specialise in immersive and interactive art environments.

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