Jia-Rey Chang: SkyWindow

 
  • ©, Jia-Rey Chang

  • ©, Jia-Rey Chang

  • ©, Jia-Rey Chang


Artist Statement:


    Summary

    The SkyWindow is an immersive and intimate experience with sky-like projections on the ceiling as an interactive installation in a dark room. Metaphorically, the SkyWindow implies a piece of “hope” people desperately desire under hours of quarantine in an entire enclosure space over this pandemic crisis.

    Abstract

    The concept of the SkyWindow comes with the idea of being a mental escape from reality, especially under the unprecedented time. Being quarantine in an entire enclosure space continuously for numerous hours and days, people are desperately looking for reliefs in any possible ways. Through the artist’s interactive design, looking up to the imaginary sky could be the most enjoyable solution to get the immediate comfort without going out.

    The SkyWindow is an immersive and intimate experience with sky-like projections on the ceiling like putting a void hole to it as an interactive installation. A dark environment with the projected sky/universe on the ceiling intriguing the audience to walk closer underneath. Further, the visual graphic will induce the audience to reach out to their hands like touching the sky to trigger the raindrops and sounds falling from the SkyWindow.

    The SkyWindow here metaphorically represents a piece of “hope” people can expect during the pandemic. No matter a planet far away in the dark or sunlight in the bright, it gives you unexpected joy and surprise in the design. Besides exposing under different spatial scenes, through this SkyWindow, waving hands in the air will trigger the (meteor) shower falling from the Sky which ironically implies the power of control that people have been losing it for a while under such an unpredictable moment. And the rain implicitly refers to wash out all the illness and sadness for returning the clean and pure spirits.


Technical Information:


    For the hardware part, a laptop (PC) is required as a central mechanism for calculating the input detection from the audience’s posture to trigger the raining audio and sound effect. A webcam is the sensor for detecting the dynamic posture data to trigger the interaction mechanic as input data. A projector sitting on a 45-centimeter high table shooting towards the ceiling is the core device for visual projection onto the ceiling. 2 Bluetooth speakers connected to the laptop (PC) are for the audio output.

    For the software part, P5.JS as a generative tool is the software used to operate the installation. It is utilized with PoseNet (ML5.JS) for the motion skeleton tracking and P5.Sound.JS for sound creation. Good quality of internet connection (WIFI or Ethernet) is needed since the P5.JS, ML5.JS, and P5.Sound.JS are all running via a web editor.

    For the spatial setting, preferably in a not extremely dark room with no windows and around 2.5m x 3 (to 3.5) m is required. The installation will be set at the corner of the room with a 40cm(w) x 50cm(l) x 45cm(h) for locating the projector. 4 power plugs (or extension cord) for laptop, projector, speakers, and a backup is needed. (Please refer to the technical plan drawing).


Process Information:


    My current artist statement focuses on relationships between the human body and inhabited space, mediated by technology. In my works, I am interested in questions about how a space can proactively interact with users through artificial intelligence?

    The well-known communication theorist, Marshall McLuhan, has foreseen the impact of emerging technology on our bodies and arouse the question of what are the new bodily senses that emerge with technology development? I believe that interaction which implicitly incorporates bodily senses and environmental factors is a key concept to seek for the answer by involving the merger of body, technology, and space. Therefore, my creative research investigates emerging interactive technologies to generate new sensory experiences that expand our understanding of what it means to be human.

    Following the conceptual trajectory of my artistic statement, SkyWindow is built as a small but intimate environment attempting to provide a mental escape (window) from our reality, especially under this pandemic crisis. In such a panic moment, people desperately looking for comforts from all aspects while getting stuck in a total enclosure space. What one’s minimum desire is to look up through the window to sense the sky, to feel the light. The SkyWindow represents a slight piece of a “hope” here no matter it is a planet far away in the dark, a sunlight in the bright, or a (meteor) shower falling,

    Just like what the curator, Soh Yeong Roh, states “They(artists) use the technology as a tool, not as a purpose”, the SkyWindow shares the same concept to use technology to serve humanity. Hence, the Artificially Intelligence as Machine Learning is used as a posture detective tool to sense the users’ bodily movements and trigger the interaction with the artwork for making audio and visual effects as raining) to accomplish the project’s implicit meaning behind.

    The challenge actually reflects my quarantine life in the US. Because of staying in my tiny apartment with my wife, it is pretty hard to set up a clear space for motion tracking. But this exactly showed the constraint and the real experience that we have been through during the quarantine. Therefore, it might not be the most perfect project but definitely the most authentic one for me.


Other Information:


    Inspiration Behind the Project

    Being quarantine in a tiny apartment continuously for numerous months in the US made me think of how to create a temporary mental escape from reality to somehow look for hope. During this depressive moment, how nice it would be to look up to the sky through a skylight to enjoy and even interact with the moon, the stars, and the cloud in my apartment. And it is pretty common that we look up to the sky while searching for hope. This simple idea initiated the whole SkyWindow project. It is not only metaphorically referring to the hope we need/rely on but also implicitly indicating the freedom and social connection that people desperately desire during this pandemic moment.

    Key Takeaways for the Audience

    In this particular project, I would like my audience to remind themselves that even in such a difficult time, don’t lose your faith and hope for a brighter future. Furthermore, there is one major intention in all my projects which is to let the audience have fun interacting with them. The audience is always the last piece of the puzzle that completes my projects. Hence, I would like the audience to try, to play, to explore with the projects and feel that art can also be very fun and intimate.


Additional Images:


©, Jia-Rey Chang ©, Jia-Rey Chang ©, Jia-Rey Chang