Panopticon

A surveilling installation that confronts the audience with the panopticon of digital age

Collaboration - Tong Wu & Barak Chamo

 

In the age of mass surveillance and commoditized information, we are all, willingly or not, constantly watched. Our devices, online presence, transaction history and even physical presence have become an asset for social network, world governments and corporations to own - we live in a digital panopticon devoid of consent and, in many cases, even awareness. As in Bentham’s architecture, the watchman’s all-seeing eye keeps us from misstepping and policing ourselves.

Through Panopticon, we've created an experience of being both the "observee" and the "observer". It is a critique and a wakeup call to the alarming prevalence of mass surveillance all around us, to how tracking and surveillance devices have become largely invisible to us and to how insensitive we have become toward privacy invasion. 

Inspired by the system of control of the same name, we created the project “Panopticon”, an interactive media sculpture that breaks the illusion of privacy and control of our digital identity and physical presence. Multiple camera rigs monitor users throughout the exhibition space, tracking and capturing faces, and collecting the facial data to be projected on a semi-torus sculpture.

 

 

BILL OF MATERIALS

HARDWARE
  • laser-cut modeled foam core

  • Acrylic thread

  • Apple Mac Minis

  • Logitech c920 webcams

  • LG Short-throw projector

  • DMX spotlights

SOFTWARE
  • Vectorworks

  • Max/MSP

  • MadMapper

  • Adobe Premiere CC

  • Amazon AWS Rekognition

  • OpenCV

  • Python 3

Shower-omancy

1. Final Presentation

ShoweromancyShoweromancy result

The demo for Showeromancycould be accessed at tongwu226.github.io/showeromancy/

This mediation, together created by Tong Wu and Yipeng Chen, is a way of divination based on the observation of our shower time. A nice, clean interface as shown in the picture has two buttons. Once the "Take a Shower" button is clicked, the project would record the current time in a day, and start a timer. When the person is done with the shower, he/she could simply click the "Done showering" button, and the calculation would start and generate the reading. The reading results are 15 kinds, based on five different time periods within a day, and three types of shower length.

15 results

I-Ching Master

1.Final Presentation

"I-Ching Master" is an oracle deck I created, where the querent uses their own sketch instead of flipping coins to get I-Ching hexagon results that tells their fortune or gives suggestion about their concerns.

 The demo could be accessed at https://tongwu226.github.io/I-ChingRead/

2. Inspiration & Methodology

I was inspired by two very traditional divination methods originated from east Asia, I-Ching and literomancy.

Traditional I-Ching divination consists of 64 hexagrams, composed of six stacked horizontal lines, where each line is either Yang or Yin decided by throwing three coins together for six times.

Literomancy is a form of fortune telling widely practiced in Chinese-speaking communities, where the querent asks the reader a question or tells a concern, then writes down a Chinese character. The reader tells the fortune or gives prediction on how to solve a question based on analyzing each single part of the character, or by adding strokes to or subtracking strokes from the original character to indicate potential change.

My oracle deck was just a clean, black box mimicing Fu, an important tool which is the symbol of Daoism practice, on which Daoist practitioners draw the incantation and make it function as summons or instructions to deities, spirits. An individual who participates in my divination practice could think about his/her concerns in mind, and then freely draws on the black canvas. The "Erase" button could clear the canvas if the participant is not satisfied with the drawing. Once done, he or she could press the "divination" button, which then generates four hexagram results from I-Ching based on the drawing. And the "read" button would generate content that explains what each hexagram result means, based on the traditional interpretation of I-Ching.

 3. The Algorithm Behind

I-Ching Hexagons



The algorithm behind this prototype is based on calculating the proportion of the pixels actually being painted in four different sections of the canvas, and mapping each of the four outcomes generated by the sketch to 16 hexagon results.  Therefore, each drawing could generate four random results from 64 possible hexagon results.

4. Reference

Simple I-Ching hexagons illustration: http://www.eee-learning.com/article/2076 I-Ching hexagon result interpretations: http://divination.com/iching/lookup/12-2/

Indecision Space - Ask Oracle to help you choose

Introduction

For the first meditation assignment, with Dan Oved as my collaborator,  we created the Indecision Space, a mobile-friendly ritual accessed at  http://indecision.space. This is an “electronic” ritual that visualizes the conflicting thoughts we usually have when making a decision and explores how human's minds are influenced by unrelated implication when making decisions. In the system to perform this ritual, the participant:
  1. Thinks of something he/she feels undecided or worries about
  2. Holds his/her phone and waits patiently for 5 seconds for the results to come out
  3. Gets a sentence of "oracle" that suggests about decision making

Documentation of ITP students performing Indecider

Inspiration

The idea of Indecider came from our discussion about what part of our daily routine is worth transforming into an electronic ritual. We went from ideas that celebrates our "graduation" from a day of ITP, as many of us stay in ITP until pretty late, to posting on Facebook every single time someone solves a bug, then finally to Indecider. We want to write a small program that performs the role of the Oracle of Delphi, who is the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi that served as the oracle, that could let us know the "oracle" from program about our common life struggles.

How it works:

The oracle is actually nothing but a sentence "the answer has to do with something ..." plus an adjective word picked from a database with about 300 common english adjective words.  And to avoid stereotypes about "fortune telling" or "goddess", I sketched two cats, one for the "indecision" and the "undecided" pages  with a question mark and one for the "oracle"page with an exclamation mark.

IMG_5683


We add a three-second waiting time before you can hit the button "Oracle, please help me choose" and  a five-second pseudo-loading time for the oracle to show. Based on our own experience and our observation of others performing the ritual, proper amount of waiting time in a ritual raises people's interest in and attention on the results that's about to come out, and it helps to enhance the sense of the ritual.

Thoughts:

As we experienced as well as observed, most people who performed the indecider ritual consciously try to build a loose connection between the oracle and a choice they have in mind, or try to interpret the oracle and associate it with some practical suggestions. And the interpretation actually to some extend is a process to convince the person who practice the ritual something he/she prefers or has decided.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.42.12 AMScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.42.34 AM

Flappy Shadow

1. Final Presentation

"Flappy shadow" is a project by Kai Hung and Tong Wu that allows users to create and fly a virtual bird from shadow puppets.

2. Idea Development

Kai is mainly responsible for designing visuals for the project. We went through several versions of designs and finally decided the design of the virtual bird should fly over a black background and mimic the hand gesture for shadow bird. I focuses on the coding part of the project. Originally we decided to use a leap motion combined with wakinator to detect and differentiate users’ hand gesture. But then we found out the detection range was so limited, that severely influenced the engagement and the interaction of uses. So we finally decided to use Kinect and kinectron combined with p5.js to achieve expected outcome. Kinect does an exllecent job in tracking user's hands positions, but its sensitivity also gives us trouble given the show environment was very dark and crowded. Although we have programmed the Kinect to track only the closest body’s hand position, it is still easily interrupted when people are all crowded in one small room.

4. System diagram

Print

5. Source Code at GitHub Page

"Flappy Shadow"