Connecting Curious Dots

On the intersection of technology, culture, and everyday life: My semi-updated space to collect and link my thoughts about interesting things I spot.

Interacting with Digital Beings in Public

With “interactive” campaigns now pervasive, this compilation of digital billboards noticed when the context is within populated public spaces.  A British Airways display with a giant billboard child pointing at a real plane flying in the sky is interactive not with the public below, but rather with real time data (using custom-built surveillance technology to detect when specific planes fly by).  The dynamic is passive watching (similar to how we normally watch planes), and the momentary wow factor is upon realizing that a non-human can be programmed to observe planes and become excited like we do too.

I was more enamored by this one at Euston Station, where you can use your cell phone to yank an abusive man across billboard screens around the station and away from his victim.


Likely the Euston billboard attracted less on-lookers pausing in their commute to watch the interaction, than a campaign at Victoria station which dropped a sexy angel to virtually interact with people in the physical world.

The billboards made me think about artists like Karolina Sobecka and what types of differences there are in degree of public intimacy and interactivity with their works.

Wildlife projects a tiger onto buildings and augments streetscapes from a moving car. The tiger’s movements are programmed to mimic the car’s speed (runs as the driver/car speeds up, and stops as the driver/car slows down).  Like the way we pass strangers on the sidewalk, the shared public experience is temporally and geographically spread out and the view of the driver and tiger’s interaction is fleeting.

It’s You populates a storefront window with projections of human figures.  The figures crowd around and obscure something from the pedestrians’ view and respond to the pedestrians’ actions in the social space, making the pedestrian a public performer.   If the pedestrian stands behind the figures looking over their shoulder, they step aside to include him/her in obscuring the view together.  If the pedestrian lingers for awhile and does something to entertain the projections, they clap.

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