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EVERY PERSON COUNTS -Media Installation Project
By: Dina Kamal | Doha Salah | Salma Elmahdy & Heba Mohsen
Course: Media Installation, Spring 2011

Abstract:

This installation is based on the idea of “every person counts”. The idea is based on an individual experience, to show that every person has a role and this can be a leading role. So basically this Simulation engages the participant in the events that happened in Tahrir Square during the revolution. In which in Tahrir, each one was free to do whatever he wants and at the same time he could be leading others by what he does. The same is in our installation, where the participant is free to do whatever he wants, and also by what he does, he controlled the result then. In other words, the participant can walk, run (walk faster), speak or shout and for all these actions, he will find videos with the same actions happened in Tahrir as reaction. They will be shown depending on what he does and when he does nothing he sees nothing. So he is the one controlling the installation.

KEY WORDS:

  • Influence
  • Tahrir simulation
  • Every person
  • leading
  • free acting

Work Frame:

14/4: Presentation of the idea
28/4: group meeting
12/5: group meeting
19/5:Working on the tracking patches .
26/5: collected videos that will be projected.
2/6: try the patches with the videos on a laptop.
8/6:getting the materails for the installation.
21/6:Setting almost the equipment in the room, and the posters and the Graphic elements outside.and trying the patch in the room.
22/6: Experimenting the installation.
21/623/6 : Final Presentation
26/6: The Exhibition


Introduction:

The Tahrir was the best example ever for collaboration and cooperation. The spirit that made all the people do the same thing,, was the base for the revolution. What happens in tahrir was that anyone who has an idea can be a leader for many people by just declaring it and he will be followed. So every person can have the influence over others.So every person counts.

This idea of being a leader for just people who you don’t know was the point ,that in Tahrir every one was free to do whatever he wants ,and thus every one could have a role , and it could be a leading role .For example the people on stages who were chanting ,many people were following them . That`s the main point in our installation, in which we give the participant the freedom to do whatever he wants , and thus he will be the one controlling what he will see then.and that`s why if he does nothing he will sees nothing.


Concept development:

First we started with brainstorming for some keywords that have a relation to anything in Tahrir and we have conducted some of them like :

  • Influence -Leading-every one-simulation-controlling-organizing -Freedom.

Then as we all experienced that one person was influencing many others there , so this person can be anyone .So we thought about the word influence as we wanted to show that really every person there counts.

So Finally we sticked to this idea in a room simulation for the Tahrir.to show the concept of” Every person counts “.

And then we had many thoughts : First concerning the place, we first decided to have it in the lecture room where we have our class, and then we found it too big, as it will be all covered by curtains, and also we said that the participant will have four walls so this might distracts him .Then we thought about splitting the room in a way to be triangular to make the focus on only one wall and it did not work out .So the solution was just to have another smaller room, and this was the one in front of the Green screen room downstairs.

Second Concerning the technicalities ,When we first have this big room with four walls we thought about having four projectors ,one for each wall ,then we found it too much and so we decided to make it only with one projector on one wall in the small room .

Another thing , we thought of not only letting the participant make movements but also make sound with his voice .In other words the participant can also use his voice whether talking or shouting to have videos with the same behavior. Then we thought about having a split screen for both the movement videos and for the voice . as showing two reactions (videos) at the same time as the participant can walk and make sound and then he will find two videos and if he made only one action , he will find only one (video).

Third concerning the static appearance and attention getter .There are three related partsto this. The first part is how to attract them and make them come and try this installation, so we thought about hanging a poster outside just having our slogan"every person counts" and some Pictograms shapes that may help triggering the ones attention. The second part is, after he gets into ,whether not to let him know any thing or he should know. We thought first of having like sticky notes to show some kind of actions the participant can make inside. Or having a video inside showing them what to do like instructions but then we found that this contradicts the concept of having the freedom to do whatever he wants as telling him what to do not leaving him to explore But we thought also that at the same time the participant should have any clue what to do inside,especially also as for technical approach there are of course some limitations for the movements inside. so the idea of having the slogan and the Pictograms on a poster is helpful. Also a way to motivate them to act inside was , as someone can be inside watch a movie for some seconds and get out , putting a mic(just not working but as an element of attraction) inside to let people go for it and then this will be a motion and then a video will appear for this , so this might help them also explore more.

The poster and the installation room


Implementation :

We will built a small room in a ,rectangular space, with white cloth inside in which to have the projector on. and instead of a door we will have a black curtain to cover and to avoid the sunlight so as to make it as more dark as we can .

MATERAILS USED :

  • White and black curtain
  • Laptop
  • A projector
  • Headphones
  • Mic
  • Youtube videos

First footage : people walking in Tahrir

Second footage : people running in Tahrir

Third footage : people talking in Tahrir

Fourth footage : people shouting in Tahrir

A 3D model for the room and the equipment inside

Our practical implemantations

On a technical wise :

The person who is in the room of the simulation is free to talk or shout,walk or run and all these movements and sounds will be tracked by a camera depending on their strength and weakness and then,some videos will be projected (like if he is talking ,a video of some people talking in the Tahrir Square will be shown and so on,and this is the person's influence).

We used MAX MSP for the tracking system (tracking motion and sound).We didn't have speakers as their sound would make an effect instead of the participant voice so we substituted with headphones.


OBSERVATION AND ANALYSIS:

""OBSERVATION""

We had some interviews with people asking them about their opinions after experiencing the installation by having questions like " what did you notice inside - what do you think the relation between this and to what happened in Tahrir " We also thought about having a box and some small faces like (happy - neutral - sad) and the participant will pick one and put it in the box.Then we will collect them and have our results.

As observation to what happened we had some comments from people who experienced the installation before and after using it and they were sort of questions and some observations and comments for improvement.

Before using it and after reading the poster

"Can i use the laptop"

"What shall i do inside"

"What can i do with the mic "

and before entering the room and hearing people inside

"It is like a torture room "

-Mostly all people were laughing outside from hearing the sound of others inside without entering yet and some were like somehow afraid .

After experiencing the installation

"The mic is lagging "

"What was that "

"I was shy to talk"

"Do we intend to listen only to the participant voice without listening to what he sees or listen"

-Some people were very happy after getting out and wanted to go there again and some were like as if they were playing and comming out sweaty . -Some people were screaming inside and doing very funny sounds. -Others were really quite and there has no voice.

Comments for improvements :

"It should have a more spirit by having the same atmosphere for the Tahrir to make them talk or shout "

"There sould be an entrance and an exit "

"The feedback faces should be on the exit not the entrance"

"The feedback faces should be on a larfe scale rather than only three options"

"The videos should stay longer than this as to realize whats happening not disappearing when the action is done immediately "

- The idea behind the mic is just to help them that they can use their voice but there were proeblems to install the mic to the computer so owe just out it there and in this case we intended to have a one aith a along wire that might not grab the attention that it is not working.

""ANALYSIS""

All the people who experienced this installation had different thoughts , feelings and way of thinking in dealing with it depending their differences in background and knowledge and the things they had experienced in Tahrir.

Some people didn't understand the interaction part in it and mostly the others understand it but didn't get that it is all about this except when asking them what do you think the relation would be between this and what happened in Tahrir.

The poster , the Ghost (the man hanged on the black curtain ) and the sound of one person inside ,all this stress the fact that it is an indiviual expercice and related to the real world in Tahrir.So every thing inside depends on every person`s experince in Tahrir.Also as each one has performed in a totally different way ,this strongly illustartes the idea of ""each one has his influence "" as some people screamed , others shout , others sing ....

However we intended to make it more serious as an excat simlulation to the influnce of many people in Tahrir , it has included some fun as for differnt peoples reaction towwrds the installation.

A very important thing was to put in consideration all people`s attitudes and to have in mind always that people are different in their level of mind , studies and in every thing that will affect their way of action and reaction and in receiving the information.People`s reaction that were different form what we except them to do worked as an advantage to us as it helped us to improve our installation , also people who react the same way we expect have a great role in making the success of our installation.

25 people tried it , and 14 of them had marked the smiley face, 5 of them marked the confused and 6 of them marked the neutral face. Note The faces were put depending on, whether what they got after knowing the concept is nearly what they did inside and have in mind when asking them or not .


!! REFLECTION AND LIMITATIONS:

By Heba Mohsen :

As for me i was a different case , I switched groups at a critical time , yet i got used to my new members very quickly .They were really friendly welcoming me to their Group despite I didn't work with them before.I did put all my effort and tried to work as much as I can and I was dealing with this project the exact same way as it was mine . I tired to compensate for the weeks i wasn't with them by discussing with them their concept and tried to load me myself with some work to do .I really felt very excited and happy when the in stallion worked as we all expect to .

Of course , I would be more glade if i had joined them from the begging in developing the concept and finding the place,and joining them in all these interesting and tiring process.

I really enjoyed working on media Installation .I didn't thought about it like this before from the visits I have for some installations in some galleries in Egypt .I am really happy that I have studied the concept behind what a media installation is and how to think for it and achieve what I want .

At the end i really want to thank Bernd ,Heba El kest , Mona who really helped us alot in our technicalities.And thank my friendly members that welcomed me to their group and dealt with me very normally welcoming my suggestions and thoughts. A special thank for Prof Daniel and Julien for this amazing semester .

By Dina Kamal:

Media Installation and Interactive Design [ 2 in 1 project ! ]. Just the idea of this final project was really hard for me to deal with it and to imagine that I will be having to work on a project with "my beloved program: MaxMSP " (sarcastic) was in itself a nightmare, especially that we were very good starters in the 3rd semester with our programming final project but unfortunately it did not work. So let's say that this course was not really my cup of tea. But honestly, I had a feeling this semester that things will work better and that I am finally learning and UNDERSTANDING some tools on MaxMSP, and from my side I was trying to focus a lot and do some effort with that, but I was still anxious. So, Doha and I formed our group and started brainstorming. Doha came up with a different idea and we worked on it together, and I do not know how but I was very excited with it, I liked the idea of having a different idea, turned around, which is depending on people and their action more than their reaction. I loved this idea of giving them the priority and the importance of influencing the whole project. We knew that this might be a bit risky and that a lot of people do not usually really interact with such ideas, and are still not used to this kind of media installations, but we took the risk, and believed that this project is going to work. Strangely enough, but the patches were not a big deal for us and they seemed to be a peace of cake. Then, we started thinking more about the installation itself and the place, which has been changed on the last minute, and which made it a better choice actually though we had to fix everything by ourselves as it was not in one of the rooms but only a corner next to the workshops. Of course the patches then took us more time to be fixed exactly as we want, we panicked, we were stressed, but in the end the project was done, finished, and…IT WORKED!!! :D I guess this semester and this project made believe in myself more, it made me REALLY believe in this quotation " Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE ", so yes, my 2 in 1 project [ media installation - interactive design ] worked, back then, that was already one of the impossibles! But today, it's a fact, and I am very proud of that!

And this project would not be the same without my colleagues Doha Salah, Heba Mohsen and Salma el Mahdy. And I would really thank Heba and Salma so much for the great effort they have done in a small period of work with us, without their help I guess Doha and I would have been more panicking. They did a great job, and they were a new source of work and energy in finishing this project. A special thank for Heba ElKest and Mona Diab for their patience and help, they were always helpful and very friendly. This project would not even have been an interactive work without their help. And thank you so much for our tutors: Bernd Dudzik and Hala Gabr [ I can FINALLY understand the basics of MaxMSP, thank you for that, it would not happen without your help ] , Prof. Daniel Fetzner and Julien Schmid [ Thank you very much for this interesting topic and inspiration about Tahrir Square ]

By Doha Salah :

First it was hard for me to get the point of interactive media and media installation and i use to deal with it as mathematical equations as if i will never understand it,as dealing with max msp isnt easy and the project seemed huge in the beginning and it was only me and dina in the group except for the last 5 days when salma and heba joined us,so it was a lot of work,for me and dina and i felt that this project wont work ,because it seemed hard to be realized and my idea for this simulation was a bit different,i didnt want the user to get influenced by the simulation as much as i want to see the user's influence on the simulation,and people tend to get affected easier that affecting something,so most of the people thought they will just watch something they didnt know that they will trigger something to happen,which annoyed me a bit to see that some of them at 1st didnt understand that they are the influence,so we made a poster and put some pictograms to let them understand and we put this single silouhette on the black curtain so they can understand more,and it helped actually.

Then when salma and heba joined us,it was better,as all of us worked on the project which is better than 2 ,of course when they joined us we have had a concept and the place where we will make the installation and the patches but they helped updating the wiki,and we did some extra work on the patches as they werent done,and they helped us installing the place and documenting the experience of the users with pictures and making the feedback box.

So working in a bigger group is much better and believing in what we are doing is very important because when i started loosing hope,i kind of started not working on the project and believing that i will fail,so we should always believe in what we are doing,because in the end we will see something great ,in the end the media installation worked and some people told us its really different than other installations and its fun. So in the end i got the concept and the idea behind all of this.

We wouldnt have done all of this work without the help of the doctors,the teachers ,the teachers assistants and the support of our friends and family,so thank you.

By Salma Elmahdy:

This course was truly AMAZING! I love learning about Media installation, especially when its also interactive.. At 1st i was very confused and it was all new to me, and when we had to do this project i thought of a lot of ideas when one of them was doing a tent and so that the people experience how it feels to sleep in Tahrir square but unfortunately i couldn't do it alone and i joined a group that wanted to do another idea, then the group broke down and i joined with Dina and Doha which were more than welcoming, i love you girls! I learnt A LOT! I love documenting and getting feedback, I was very happy about the expressions of most people that came out of the installation, I'm very Happy of the success of the installation we really did work hard in that one!

It was more of a self challenge too, little time, so much to do. There was a day when i came from college and it's been so long without sleeping that i slept for 12 hours straight!! Which was nice of course :D I really enjoyed building the installation with the group and acing all these problems makes you always think of the possibilities that could happen, it really made me learn how to think further in stuff. The main things i learnt from this experience was 1-Giving other people a chance to express what they think about the project they could really come out with great ideas too. 2-Trust your team mates and have trust that you could all do it together no matter how much time you have. 3-Ask yourself tough questions and challenging yourself with things that you can't do till you learn how to do them. 4-Give yourself a break when you really need to. 5- And respect others even if they screw up :)

I would really want to thank all the Teachers and Teacher Assistants because i knew we gave them a really hard time calling them every minute! THANK YOU SO MUCH For all your effort to make us learn anything at all, i'm really grateful of knowing you all.. And i would also thank Prof. Daniel and Julien for their patience and understanding.. :)

Lastly, Dina and Doha.. We couldn't have done it without you! :D And a special thanks to Heba Mohsen for all the support she gave me :)