Reflections in Self Intimacy

Immersive sound installation

Back in June, we ran a photo contest on Instagram and received many interesting projects. It was really exciting to see that a few of them featured our products, and even led us to discover this little gem made by one of our winners.

Reflect(ions) is a project by Edit E. Vizer, a communication designer, media artist, and a conscious think-maker. It is also the final presentation of her design research exploring self-intimacy and attempts to find possible ways of facilitating a more conscious experience as an interaction designer.

We find this project fascinating because of the material explorations and discoveries that Edit went through in order to develop her idea from concept to a finished piece.

Edit designed and built an installation filled with sound, where participants could step in and experience the space firsthand. The objective is for visitors that enter the space to slow down and take their time by listening to the sounds surrounding them, what they tell and how they change.

In order to create this interactive experience, Edit used active speakers and transparent speaker wires, small sound transducers, screen prints using Electric Paint on transparent plexiglass and small circle-shaped aluminium plates. The whole programme ran on MaxMSP for an interactive system.

To build the piece Edit performed a series of experiments with base materials for the Electric Paint. Among others, she used transparent silicone, which she both applied as a base material and cover/seal for the paint. Through experimentation, she discovered that the silicone has to be treated in order to receive the Electric Paint on its surface. She also found that the silicone as a cover makes the paint crack quite quickly, so she is still performing tests on this material in order to find the perfect match. Because of these limitations, she used a transparent spray cover for the paint in the installation itself.

In the photo below, you can see a snapshot of some experimentation results. Here the small samples with the cables are tests for DIY sensors. Edit tested a series of transparent materials (plastics mostly) with hand-painted and screen-printed Electric Paint. Then she added the cables and tested various metal materials for joints (screws, cut metal sheets, etc).

These DIY sensors are connected to the Touch Board and MaxMSP software using capacitive sensing to achieve sensing over a distance. This means participants are not only able to activate the sensors by touching, but also by their proximity and presence near the installation. In this way, the designed interaction is more seamless, and the behaviour of installation is more of a responsive kind than a reactive one.

Edit is interested in the intimacy of the self, when you experience something special on your own, rather than in relationship therapy. So, inspired by this type of experience, the project itself looks at this immaterial phenomenon very closely. It gives examples of capturing it in form or narrative texts, drawings, diagrams and establishes a library of these experience bits. Moreover, it presents a series of further experiments in order to find ways on how to put these experiences into physical form and material.

The project worked as an example of how to materialise and facilitate self-intimacy experiences because it’s not enough to understand only by words. Attaining self-intimacy happens when we get the experience through our own body.

The purpose of this project wasn’t to solve the problem of lacking self-intimacy, but it was mainly focused on attaining self-intimacy through experience. While participants experiencing the installation, one might ask questions, start to reconsider and to speculate. Artistic and design research especially highly values these processes and the knowledge that is gained from them.

To experience yourself the Reflections, we highly recommend watching the video.

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