Digital Studio – Week 03

Digital Studio – Week 03
This project could become much larger than I first thought. Image: Under Construction by David J. Nightingale


I’m a bit anti public art. Well – not public art itself – but the ridiculous amount of consultation that’s required to go along with it. Starting to look at the layers of council and bureaucracy approval, frightening commercial hire rates and logistics of the project is putting a steep perspective on everything. That’s not to say the idea is not achievable, or worthwhile – quite the contrary – however, it feels like I truly am diving in at the deep end.

Sydney Council, being the bohemoth that it is, hasn’t responded to my request for information around public art projects, however the smaller and more responsive Marrickville Council has made the effort to get back to me. These points may not be applicable to all councils, but this is what I’ve been told so far…

  • A project like this is not a Council Planning issue, so no planning approval is needed
  • Insurance/public liability is required for public installations
  • Temporary public artworks fall into the area of the Community Events department

And so, speaking to the Community Events co-ordinator at Marrickville Council is the next step I am waiting on. In the meantime, I have approached several established artists, who have previous experience working in the public arena. Hopefully, they can give me some much needed advice that won’t be attached to bureaucracy and red tape.


I have decided to do a series of test experiments for this project: very simple interactions, which are designed to get quantifiable responses from participants. I hope to break down ideas into bite-sized pieces, rather than throw a lot at people all at once – losing the opportunity for them to respond to individual elements.

The first experiment will use a Wii remote as the interface. Interaction will be limited to simple movement and change in colour/opacity of shapes. Below is a keyboard/mouse version of the test experiment, purely for use on this blog. If you wish to use it with a Wii remote, there are instructions within the comments in the source code. Lowercase ‘q’, ‘w’ and ‘e’ control some of the changes, along with mouse movements…

(If you can’t see the Processing sketch below, you may need to refresh the page and allow Java to connect to your computer, so it can run correctly)

[processing file=”/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/testExperiment01_20100324.jar”]

Source code: testExperiment01_20100324

So what am I looking for from the participants of this sketch? These are the questionnaire points I will ask each person to complete once they’ve interacted with the sketch:

  • What is your initial reaction to the work?
  • What did you like most about the work?
  • What did you like least about the work?
  • Do you feel as though you were in control of the interaction?
  • Did you feel immersed in the work?
  • Did the way you interfaced with the work help or hinder you in any way?

Obviously quite basic questions, but at this stage I’m not sure what to expect and want to keep things broad. Over the coming weeks, I will create different sketches, based on the feedback I get, hopefully creating and refining ideas for the final work.

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