Interactive and Immersive Art & Design in the Time of Social Distancing

As the former Senior Designer and Developer of Interactive Technology at Meow Wolf, I've designed and developed interactive artworks and installations for over 80,000 square feet of exhibition space. Most of these multi-sensory experiences have relied on tactile interactions, encouraging thousands of visitors a day to explore spaces via a "hands on" experience. Right now, there are many questions in the minds of makers, designers and interactive installation artists about the future of immersive art which so often relies on touch and physical interactions not to mention garnering clusters of visitors to gather in interactive spaces. This presentation explores solutions for social distance-minded interactive experiences based on contact-less sensors and computer vision input while also considering accessible and safe exhibition and installation design practices. I will demo select contact-less sensors and computer vision techniques and discuss how they can be used to create interactive feedback systems.

What are the problems you aim to help solve with this project?:
I aim to help those in the festival, installation, and immersive arts industries re-think interactivity in pursuit of methodologies which maintain safe distancing practices. Many artists and organizations are in limbo while the pandemic makes the idea of crowded interactive spaces like Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return (where often there would be so many visitors they would be shoulder to shoulder with one another) untenable moving forward. Rather than see these spaces close, interactive artists turn away from their projects, and businesses fail, I believe the community should rally to pursue new methods of interactivity which do not rely on contact and allow visitors to interact at a safe distance.

Categories: Re-thinking the Future, Arduino, Emerging Tech