Another interesting project has arrived from our community in France. This one exploring the possibilities that the city we live in gives us. Beautifully documented, this project provides a great example of how Electric Paint and the Touch board can be used to create a narrative through visual and three-dimensional objects.
Nausicaa Giraud, Clara Vigourous, Manon Beyer and Aurore Bayle, four students from the EPSAA (Ivry-sur-Seine, France), have created an interactive audio-visual piece which visitors are encouraged to use as a platform for exploring their small scale rendition of the city.
The students were inspired by the idea that as inhabitants of an urban space, we often forget to pay attention to the details around us because of the fast and sometimes hectic rhythms of city life. This project aims to highlight and remind us of them. CITI, was born from the idea of translating daily urban habits into an immersive space.
The project starts with the following statement: "You are now in my interactive and touch sensitive Imaginary Capital for a unique experience. In my city, you can find 6 essentials. I leave it to you to guess what these essentials are, while doing so you can discover me."
To build their piece, the students used Bare Conductive's Touch Board and connected it to conductive paint to create the 6 main poles of the CITI. Initially they attempted to make their own conductive ink, mixing standard paint with graphite powder to create their graphics, however they found it wasn't efficient enough. That's when they discovered Electric Paint, which was more appropriate and efficient for their project.
The structures representing the city are handmade, each object was painted using Electric Paint and stencils. Each form is designed to be relevant to its theme: a chair for the school, a boat for the harbour, a tree for the forest, etc. These forms were simplified, and black and silver paint were used to break the monotony of the wood. The goal was to use an innovative technology to highlight the visual graphics of the interaction, hence the Touch Board was used in its basic setting as an mp3 player. The sounds were recorded and mixed beforehand and associated with each structure/button.
The project highlights features of the common urban landscape, a swimming pool, a school, the parks, a disco, and associates these to audio excerpts from films, pieces of music or ads. CITI users then become immersed in a very familiar environment.
"We all live in the same city but we don't really pay attention to it anymore. With this project, we wanted to make people aware of their living environment again. The new scale scope allows us to monitor the city and gives us the possibility to take distance and then to appreciate the details again."
After a few months of experimenting, CITI was made live to the world their University exhibition, Paris Maker Faire and a student forum at the Paris City Hall. The team is now thinking of the next steps: CITI 2.0. They hope to add light effects and visual projections to the experience.
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