Following the success of ‘Picnic on the Screen’ presented at the Glastonbury Festival 2009 Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon have been invited to develop a new version of this interactive public video installation for Picnic in Arcadia used to link public audiences between the Bluecoat Gallery Liverpool and the University of Shanghai, for the first time via a telematic videoconference connection, as part of Liverpool Biennial 2010.
Utilising the latest blue screen and HD videoconferencing technology the installation brought public participants together within a shared telepresent urban picnic scene. Merging live camera views of remote audiences together and placing them within a simulated arcadia environment, together with computer animated elements that were triggered and controlled by the audience through a unique motion tracking interface integrated within the installation. When a member of the audience discovers their image on screen they immediately enter the telepresent space, watching a live image of them selves sitting on a picnic blanket 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 arcadian scene, complete with animated characters that respond to their movement and actions.
This site-specific work, shown at the University of Shanghai and simultaneously in the Bluecoat Gallery Liverpool, allowed the public to engage and interact while simply passing through or relaxing having lunch. This playful environment merges two public spaces together, creating a third otherworldly space on screen where people can interact with others across the globe on a virtual picnic blanket, allowing the audience to explore alternative networked spaces.