System interactive installation (2011)


interactive installation (2011)

System was a collaboration between Angela Ferraiolo, Greg Nemes, and myself built for the grand opening of Brown University's Granoff Center for the Creative Arts in January of 2011.

Described by Greg as a "convoluted communication interface", System was built in response to the premise of the Granoff building itself, whose unique architecture is suggestive of a utopian paradise for artists but is ultimately complicated by challenges of privileged access and its status as a capital asset.

System is comprised of two fully-fabricated white booths, lit from the inside, and a black monolith that is situated behind. Corrugated plastic tubing runs from each booth to the monolith, suggesting the that the electronic brain of the system is situated invisibly within a literal black box.

Inside the booths, viewers are presented with a chair, a small CCTV screen with a microphone protruding below, and a lightbulb, speaker, and hidden camera in each ceiling. System presents viewers with various permutations of video/audio feeds from their own booth and the opposite identical booth, convoluting what could easily have been constructed as an "egalitarian" communication system by introducing a permanent element of uncertainty; a viewer is never certain if they are being viewed as they view, if they are being heard as they hear.

view inside System, CCTV screen showing interior of opposite booth

view inside System, CCTV screen showing interior of opposite booth

Timelapse footage courtesy of Greg Nemes.


While largely a collaborative effort, my unique contribution to System was building the technical system itself. Using Max/MSP/Jitter, I developed a routable matrix of audio and visual feeds that allowed the audio/video to be dynamically sourced and delivered to either of the booths in real time. Further, I developed effects processing to give the audio/video a grainy CCTV quality, including text overlays on the screens that provided seemingly pertinent information that was actually quite useless.