This installation for ‘Village Screen Glastonbury 2009’ has been developed by Manchester based artists and academics Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon, who are both full members of the Creative Technology Research Group at the University of Salford. This Creative Technology duo has collaborated on numerous public video installations and bring together twenty years of experience of interactive media arts.
This particular project combines current interactive ludic interface work that Charlotte Gould has been developing, with Paul Sermon's long established practice and research into telepresent environments. Our collaborative partnership has resulted in an interactive ludic interface that has been site-specifically developed for the ‘Village Screen’ at Glastonbury 2009. This work explores the creative potential of the Glastonbury audience as performers that have the capacity to create improvised narrative sequence through the ‘Village Screen’ as a communications portal. This work is designed for large format public video screens and explores their creative and cultural potential. It offers an opportunity to be involved in the development of innovative ways of engaging with the pubic in a festival context using digital technology. Through the augmentation of the virtual and the real, users can explore alternative telepresent spaces and develop unique playful narrative events. ‘Picnic on the Screen’ explores social play and the way fun and enjoyment interact with and enhance new media content and technologies, through its design, creative development, everyday uses and discursive articulations. This is an area of research that has had little exploration; the interactions between technological developments and the pleasures described as 'fun', are few and far between. There are a number of permutations we have develop during the festival week, concerning placement of surfaces, objects, digital content and the location of public interaction, which are all possible under the theme of 'Picnic on the Screen'.
The installation consists of two blue picnic blankets in front of the Village Screen. The audience groups sitting on these blankets are captured on camera and brought together through a system of live chorma-keying, and placed on a computer illustrated background, and behind computer animated elements that are triggered and controlled by the audience through a unique motion tracking interface that is integrated in the installation. The two blankets were placed as far apart as possible not to disclose the location of the two groups and encourage the audience to explore the telepresent communication. When the audience member discovers their image on screen they immediately enter the telepresent space, watching a live image of themselves sat on picnic rug next to another person. They soon start to explore the space and understand they are now in complete physical control of a telepresent body that can interact with another person in an illustrated enchanted ludic scene, complete with animated characters that respond to the their movement and actions.