Elliot Taylor

Attention

Senior Project April 2013

Artist Statement

The ultimate goal of all modern media is to gain attention and keep it. A filmmaker wants their movie watched, a video game developer wants their game played and an advertiser wants their product sold. Producers of electronic media are perfecting the art of pulling at the senses to draw attention. Bombarding the audio and visual senses with extremes, compelling viewers with ever intensifying feelings of emotion. The power of media is amplified by social and physical interaction. Used alone a game or product is experienced differently than with other users. Seeing how someone uses a piece of media will influence how the following users interact with it. Discussing a piece beforehand will also change the way others experience it by allowing them to infer a purpose or meaning without taking it in first. In this way, it is the audience that actually defines a work and how it is understood.

If one walks into the space alone, they have no predisposition on how to use or interact with the piece. After learning how the device functions, the user becomes the artist and will influence any other users who see the first user perform. Interacting in combination with other users creates a performance unique to each group of participants. The only way for each viewer to experience the piece in the same way is for him or her to see it alone. Because of this, I do not define the experience, it is dependent on the users and their social interactions, and I only provide the vessel.

My work is an interactive light and sound instrument. The simplified elements of media participation are present: light, sound, and connection. The light elements are created using 16 RGB (full color spectrum) Light Emitting Diode’s (LED’s) controlled by an Arduino Uno microcontroller. These lights shine through two sheets of frosted Plexiglass panels mounted in a plywood frame. The Arduino sends data over a MIDI cable to a computer. Once the computer reads the data, it feeds it into a Digital Audio Workstation called Ableton Live 8, which is then used to produce the audio. Each user has the choice of how to interact with it because there are no directions given. Without interaction it serves no purpose. It is a vessel for understanding how social interaction shapes the way we experience media.

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