The interaction of this piece consists of people playing the literal strings they see criss crossing through the room, and then the piano will play a corresponding note to that string.

I think it's so interesting to represent a string instrument with actual string; the spatiality of this piece really draws me towards it, and the feedback (music) I get makes me want to continue playing it.

The concept is centered on this question: What if we could express architecture through music? Architecture and music, to me, provides very different senses but through this, I'm able to have multi-sensory responses as I am walking through the installation.


I enjoy the process of which the artists created this because the utilized 3D modeling tools, coded the layout and music, and wired everything with Arduino, but the final piece feels like all of that is really in the background; the tech doesn't really feel like it is in the forefront of the installation at all. The piece focuses on the strings and the music that accompanies it, and I feel like it's an immersive way for people to interact with song.


"Knowledge Games"

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This is a game called Quantum Moves, created by ScienceAtHome, where the goal is to move a ripply liquid into a highlighted area in a certain amount of time. What makes it interesting is that this ripply liquid represents the wave function of an atom, and your solution to moving this atom is recorded and analyzed, along with hundreds of other players' solutions, in order to create better paths to move quantum particles with lasers. Website:

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This is Foldit, created in 2008, a competitive online game in which players try to fold proteins as well as possible. According to Wikipedia, "In 2011, Foldit players helped decipher the crystal structure of a retroviral protease from Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV), a monkey virus which causes HIV/AIDS-like symptoms, a scientific problem that had been unsolved for 15 years. While the puzzle was available for three weeks, players produced a 3D model of the enzyme in only ten days that is accurate enough for molecular replacement." Check out their website, which has more info and credits to their developers (nice!).

Karen Schrier is a professor of games and interactive media at Marist College, and she's written a book about these kinds of games. I've only read the introduction of her book, but she has come up with a classification for these games that I agree with. She essentially describes "knowledge games" as games that offer new perspectives on the world, and allow us to understand a topic or solve a problem through the structure of a game. These games are often used for crowdsourced data, like the two I talked about above, but personally I think they can also be helpful for the individual to gain an intuitive understanding of a topic that is not usually presented in an intuitive way. This interactivity really fascinates me. Encoding a complex problem or idea in a simple game is a really cool idea with a lot of practical applications. It's also an interesting example of humans and computers working together; by harnessing human intuition and using that as a guideline to develop a solution, problems that are difficult for both a computer and a human can be solved by a combination of the two.


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"Halo" by studio Kimchi and Chips is a public installation of 99 robotic mirrors and a mist machine that resides in London, UK. However, the crucial element that completes the piece is the ever-changing sunlight throughout the course of the day. The mirrors follow the direction of the sun (like sunflowers), and the reflection of the light beams into the projected mist, ultimately creating a halo-like form - a form which "exists between the material and immaterial". It utilizes Bayesian inference machine learning in collaboration with unpredictable weather and natural forces to create a dynamic and ephemeral experience.

I find this installation particularly interesting because of how it is a superimposition of different timescales. Each moment is one different than the last, and reflective and reliant on the dynamic and independence of the sun, wind, and solar energy of the natural world. There is such an amazing juxtaposition and harmony of having such a robotic, machine like man-made structure with fine programming technology dance to the rhythms of nature.



Digital Shaman Project / デジタルシャーマン・--ロジェクト from Etsuko Ichihara on Vimeo.

This project takes human-robot interaction and chatbots in a surprising direction. The robot itself (which can be any commercially available robot, like Pepper) acts as a shaman for those mourning a deceased friend or relative. It wears a lifelike mask of the deceased person's face, and imitates their gestures, mannerisms, and speech to engage in simulated conversation for 49 days after their death. From the perspective of Turing's Test, the robot is in a sense becoming the deceased for a short period.

According to Buddhist tradition, the consciousness of a deceased person takes 49 days to travel from one life to the next. Therefore, upon reaching this milestone the program shuts down. The mask falls to the floor, and hopefully, the friends and relatives of the deceased have had time to process their death and begin the healing process.

Not only is this project interactive, it also has to do with clocks and time. The tablet UI affixed to the robot's front counts down to the moment when the program will stop, the deceased person's 'second death.' I am interested in how countdowns, especially as they invoke human mortality, usually create feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and doom. This project, on the other hand, creates more of a sense of peace and wistfulness. It explores ambiguities about death, resolving emotional turmoil without resorting to simplistic conclusions like 'the deceased will live on in your heart.'

Oh, and the photos imply you can play some variant of that plastic boxing robot game with... the dead people robots. Yay!?