Previously I had posted about my friends' project called #FaceProjectNYC, and it was all part of our Major Studio 1's assignment called Instruction Sets for Strangers. Now, I want to introduce our own project that we proudly named as "The Love Circuit". (Don't forget to CLICK & WATCH THE VIDEO above!)
We chose Washington Square Park as our main venue not only because it is a really beautiful park, but also because of the supporting atmosphere. In fact, we did a trial by setting up the installation at Union Square park at night, but to me it just seemed like the audience was so different. Somehow people who hang out at WSP were more willing to participate, and you could just feel lots of positive energy because there are bunch of creative people doing their own 'performance' at every corner. There were Pigeon man, the Piano man, brass & string bands, etc.
To encourage interactions between strangers and make technology more approachable.
We set up a human circuit that forced participants to hold hands to complete the circuit. Minimum 2 people are required, but the more the merrier so we also encouraged families to try. Also, we used sound and lights to initially attract people to the installation.
- Designing the project
- Acquiring the supplies we needed
- Creating the poles that complete the circuit
- Building the heart
- Constructing the lighting system
- Final installation of the project
THINGS WE NOTICED
Based on 2 days experiment done in two places at two different venue, we noticed a couple of things:
- People were less willing to participate at night. Somehow they have this concern of being electrocuted! But during daylight there were no such concerns.
- Strangers were more willing to participate in Washington Square Park than Union Square.
- People didn’t always know what to do without some prompting. Some people would just stare, some people would take photos, some would even take selfie in front of our Love Circuit.
- We noticed that people weren’t really interacting much with people they didn’t know. They tend to stick with people they came with.
CHALLENGES & FUTURE PLANS
We've faced with so many challenges from the beginning. This was a one-month project, so there were a couple of days when we got so excited and productive, and the rest of the days that we were so frustrated with some technical things, such as figuring out the LED Strips, making the connection between NoiseMaker & Arduino, and even making the giant pixelated red heart itself. One of our biggest challenge was also figuring out how to power the LED strips in the park, because we need 12V power and batteries won't be enough. In the end, we were so glad we got to 'hack' one of the street lights!
If we were given another chance to continue this installation in the future, we would like to do the following:
- Have the LEDs attached to the Noisemaker directly. Right now, the LEDs are lighted up separately from the NoiseMaker, so it would lit up every time. Actually, this will all be resolved if we were to buy AdaFruit's Neopixels LED Strip instead of the one from Amazon, but the main concern was budget, since the Neopixels strip are 5x more expensive! (about $18 per meter)
- Add energy bars that would lit up the lights from the pole, straight to the Heart.
- Add a large visual element… like a burst or something. We noticed that people were holding the poles for more than 10-20 seconds, as if they were expecting something BIG would happen next. So we would like to fulfill that in the future.
- Collaboration on Valentine’s Day. Because... who knows, right? :D
This was a really exciting project to me. Also because I've got a real-solid team as well! Special shout out to all of our team members: Eric Jiang, Sarah Page, and Yihan Zhou -- we did it.