Snails Place

Snail’s Place is the designed artwork that uses both, physical and virtual, environments to represent a city far away from Nottingham. Archeological evidence regarding the artist’s hometown was the resource to bring back the complex dynamic of the city; ambiguous criteria was used to inspire new narratives in the spectators. The physical world is a designed aquarium inhabited by coloured snails, they are tracked and projected in a digital map. Regarding the technical solutions, a Computer Vision and Computer Graphics systems were coded to connect the movement of the snails with the virtual world. The digital map’s surface displays a novel design to hide and reveal the map from different viewpoints, enhancing concepts of exploration and discovery, and supporting the journey of the audience.

Living Entities

A group of colored snails is the performers of the project. They control the system while inhabiting the terrarium.

Surface

The surface is designed to represent a city placed in the mountains. Likewise, the structure let project the virtual map in a set of faces and create transparency in the other ones.

Pixel Map

A neighborhood is represented in the virtual environment by pixelated map.

Avatars

Each snail has a representation in the virtual world. While a snail is moving in the terrarium a digital avatar copy its movement in the projection.

Coding

The computer vision and the computer graphics systems were developed in java processing for recognizing and projecting.

In the box

At the end of the trajectory, some clues are revealed to encourage the audience to make sense of the narratives.

HCI researchers, artists and general public explored the object revealing key details of their experience. Information about their actions, movements, and strategies are profiled in fourteen sheets, as well as commented in a critical evaluation; likewise, the spectator's interpretation is studied as an active interaction, thus, the audience becomes creatively cocreator of the meanings in the artwork.

The participants showed several different strategies to approach artistic maps based on their journey and their actions. Thus, the participant trajectory was defined by a set of focused and unfocused movements, preferred and abandoned viewpoints, and expected and unexpected actions. In addition, the spectators’ interpretative engage displayed different levels of comprehension regarding their vision of the environment, the living entities and, consequently, the quality of the spaces. Finally, based on the profiles and critical evaluation the artist reflects on the artistic and HCI rationale to inform the artwork.

poster_snails_place_study_ethnography

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In 2016, I got the HCI prize with this project. Check the dissertation that describes the whole project.

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In 2018, I published an article in Revista Index about Animals in the interactive performance.