Project done with Carla Piazza and Nicola Vittori at IUAV, Gillian Crampton Smith and Philip Tabor’s course.
Auditum is a site-specific interactive installation that allows people to perceive the meaning of a unique place through a mystical and introspective experience. It is located near the church of San Francesco, Venice, in a colonnade above which Franciscan friars once processed.
Passing through Auditum it is possible to live a reflective experience that, using sound, smell and light, recalls the colonnade’s history and allows users to share, at least a little, its lived past.
The aim of this project is to change people’s behaviour, making them calm down and reflect on the meaning of the colonnade and the Franciscan life through a reflexive and contemplative experience, a hint of what friars did many years ago.
When someone passes through the colonnade the interaction starts, the corresponding ceiling light is turned on. If the user notices it and stays inside for a couple of seconds the passage relives its history and ghostly friars start their “procession”. The installation only works during the principal monastic prayer times, in the morning for the Lodi (7.30 to 8.30), in the afternoon for the Mass (17.00 to 18.00) and in the evening for the Vespers (19.30 to 20.30). It never works on Wednesday because then the friars had to atone for building this monumental colonnade.
The colonnade is located in the Venetian sestiere of Castello. arriving from San Marco, after a little bridge, you come across its monumental red and white columns. If you want to cross the campo or reach the church you have to walk through it. It’s a spectacular site especially if you have only seen the low buildings typical of Venice, the colonnade seems huge.
Our users are people who live in Venice and walk through the colonnade everyday too quickly, they don’t know which was is function, the columns are just obstacles. Also the tourists are prossible users because they often don’t notice the uniqueness of this place, they are interested mostly in the church, they just pass by as anyone else.
To prototype Auditum we imagined all the possible interactions that users would have with the colonnade. Tha most important issue is how they would react when something unusual occurs.
Could Auditum persuade them to stop in the passage? Could it catch their attention?
What would happen if…
In this example of interaction the user comes into the colonnade, the relative light module is turned on and after 3 seconds is turned off. The user is still into the colonnade so the procession starts, light and sound begin to “move” from one side of the colonnade to other. A second user arrives, the two users then make noise, causing a decrease in the interaction’s volume. When the noise stops, the volume increases again. At the end of the procession the informative phrase appears.
A prototype built at human scale is a surprising an suggestive way for testing the experience, and correct it if something doesn’t satisfiy you. The Auditum prototype was activated by stepping on the switches set on the sensitive area: Arduino received the input from the sensors and the output was sent to the actuators which lets the interaction perform.
Auditum was a real team effort; we worked all together for all the first part of the project, brainstorming, idea generation and detailed design. For the developing part we divided the work, I edited the sound part, Carla programmed with Arduino and Nicola did the Processing code. All three have worked on the final prototype. I edited the stop-motion videos that show the interactions, while carla did the making-off video and Nicola did the first Flash prototype.
The whole project on Interaction Venice