TouchMe – Blendid
I saw TouchMe by Dutch interaction design group Blendid on wmmna a few months ago but it was a recent video taken at STRP festival in Eindhoven shown on Culturetv that caught my attention showing the vertical screen appear like a human sized scanner recording the gestures of people who got up close to it. See Video
TouchMe is an interactive installation that allows its users to create and contribute a personal image to the otherwise impersonal public space. Images that are created by interacting with a plate of frosted glass, remain a part of the piece and are displayed when no interactions occur for a given time. TouchMe is intended for one of those typical modern public spaces that seem predominantly designed to withstand large flows of people without any impact. It is as if the users of these spaces are viewed only as pawns, which are to be efficiently routed through this domain on their way from point A to point B. All traces of these visitors will be erased when the next scheduled cleaning crew has removed the footprints from the granite wear-free floor.
This aspiration of efficiency contrasts with the need of the public to physically interact with- and leave marks in their environment. A house isn't a home until it is decorated with some pictures or other personal mementos. In the public arena this desire is expressed in different ways; be it by piling stones on top of each other, cutting names in trees or more contemporary, spraying graffiti and stickering in the urban setting. In addition to their expressive and communicative function as media, these marks seem to build a bond between the creator and place.