#4 (Due 9/28)

This set of Deliverables (#4) has four parts. The next Looking Outwards (Part 1) is due October 5; there is no deliverable for part 2; and the latter two parts are due at the beginning of class on Friday, September 28:

  1. Looking Outwards #03, Due 10/05.
  2. Browse our Clocks (no deliverable)
  3. Viewing: Spectacle, Speculation, Spam
  4. A Collaborative Creation Environment

1. Looking Outwards #03

NOTE: This Looking Outwards is due in two weeks, on October 5.

From blogs and any other sources, identify and discuss a project which presents a specific form of interactivity that you find interesting. Try to identify forms of interaction that go beyond solo screen experiences (though those are OK too). The starting points below come mostly from new-media art, but 'games' are fine, too.

  • Title your blog post nickname-LookingOutwards03.
  • Categorize your blog post LookingOutwards03.

Some places to look: 

Here are a handful artists to consider. This list is by no means exhaustive!:

Andrea Polli, sound/interative media artist
Béatrice Lartigue, interactive artworks and interventions
Bernie Lubell, interactive wooden machines
Camille Utterback, interactive artworks and permanent public installations
Caroline Record, sound + new media installation/performance artist
Christine Sugrue, artist of poetic interactive new-media installations
Daily Tous Les Jours (Melissa Mongiat & Mouna Andraos), public interactive installations
Danny Rozin, creator of interactive mirrors
David Rokeby, pioneer of audiovisual interactive art
Eva Schindling, installations, sculpture and performance
Heather Kelley, indie game developer and educator
Karolina Sobecka, artist/developer of interactive media installations
Katherine Bennett, educator and new media artist
Lauren McCarthy, new media artist and creator/lead-developer of p5.js!
Luisa Pereira, creator of interactive audiovisual systems and machines
Lynn Hershman-Leeson, pioneer of interactive narrative art, active since mid-1970s
Mimi Son, creator of interactive artworks with novel displays
Molmol Kuo, artist-designer of images, kinetics and interactive sculptures
Nova Jiang, interactive sculpture and installation
Rafael Lozano Hemmer, a better-known interactive artist
Scott Snibbe, experimental/playful/mindful interactive art
Theo Watson & Emily Gobeille, interactions for young publics
Zachary Lieberman, interaction artist, co-founder of YesYesNo

2. Browse our clocks

Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the clocks created by your classmates. Here's a gallery in which they are all compiled into one page. There is no deliverable. 

3. Viewing: Spectacle, Speculation, Spam

You are asked to view and briefly respond to an eleven-minute video essay, Spectacle, Speculation, Spam, by British artist/critic Alan Warburton:

Once you have viewed this video, create a blog post on this site, and follow the instructions below.

  • Warburton gives us some new vocabulary for discussing art made with computers: spectacle and speculation. In a blog post, write two brief sentences -- one sentence each, in your own words -- to summarize what you think Warburton means by each of these terms.
  • Select a project you have seen this semester -- perhaps something one of your professors showed in class, or perhaps something about which you wrote in one of your Looking Outwards assignments. Continuing in the same blog post: In a couple of paragraphs (~150-200 words), discuss this project in Warburton's terms: Is it "spectacle" or "speculation"? (Or does it reclaim spectacle as speculation?) What makes it so? To the best of your abilities, categorize this project using the dichotomies that Warburton presents at 9'08" in the video.
  • Upload a still image of the project.
  • Embed a YouTube/Vimeo video of the project, if possible.
  • Categorize your blog post using the WordPress category, 04-Viewing.
  • Title your blog post, nickname-viewing04.

4. A Telematic Environment

One significant thread in new-media practices involves inventing a new modality of communication, as the core proposition of an artwork. In other words, certain artworks exist to ask the question: "What if people could communicate (or sense each other) in such-and-such new way?" For example, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's The Trace (1995) asks, "what if people could sense each others' presence, through intersecting beams of light?", while Jingwen Zhu's Real Me (2015) asks, "what if text-based chat could also communicate physiological indicators of emotional stress, such as leg jiggling?" Some works use this approach to question the nature of digital communication itself. For example, Maddy Varner's experimental chatroom, Pasties (2018), asks, "what if people exclusively communicated by copy-pasting?" These systems not only ask a question, but provide a provisional answer in the form of working, open-ended prototypes.

In this assignment, you are asked to develop a multi-user, networked environment that allows people to communicate or collaborate with each other in a new way.

Your system could facilitate language-based interactions like typing, speaking or reading. It might allow people to creatively collaborate, visually, through a novel drawing or construction activity. Or, it could convey nonverbal aspects of presence, such as gestures, in order to explore what Heidegger calls Dasein, or "being there together".

Note that while a game could be a legitimate response to the assignment, the emphasis in this project is on communication and/or creative collaboration. You should be able to answer questions as to how your project supports a new mode of communication or collaboration.

We will be using JavaScript and Glitch.com as our platform for creating networked web applications. Our TA, Char Stiles, has created an account on Glitch, and (using socket.io and p5.js) she has also made a number of helpful "starter" projects for you:

  • Simple Shared Drawing Canvas: appcode
  • Simple Text Chatroom: appcode
  • Simple Agar.io Game: appcode
  • Bare socket.io demo: code


  • Browse: Spend at least 5 minutes browsing the blocks that Glitch offers for building apps, and spend at least 5 minutes learning about available packages for Node.js (which can be used in your Glitch apps) -- see lists like this, this, THIS, etc.
  • Sketch first on paper, as always.
  • Stuck for ideas? Relax, it's OK: make a demented drawing program, a weirded chatroom, or a shared construction toy (using Matter.js -- see bottom of page). Examples:
    1. What if you made a chat space in which people could only communicate using a limited set of emojis?
    2. What if your participants constructed an exquisite-corpse monster by assembling body parts?
    3. What if your users could collaborate to construct towers of physically simulated objects?
  • Make a new account for yourself on Glitch.com.
  • Develop your project at Glitch.com.
  • Test your project with a friend! Even better, watch two or more people use your system. Make some observations.
  • Limit your design to a canvas which is no larger than 800 x 800 pixels, please. Within this limitation, your project may have any aspect ratio you please.
  • Create a blog post on this web site, to document your project.
  • In your blog post, embed an animated GIF (or screenshot image) of your project, showing what the interaction is like.
  • Embed your live project in the browser, using an iFrame. Here's an example of what that HTML might look like (in the WordPress "Text" editing mode):

or better,

  • Summarize your project in a single brief sentence. How would you describe it in just a few words?
  • Write a paragraph or two (~100-150 words), reflecting on your process, and evaluating your product. In writing about your project, please discuss your approach to at least one of the following design issues:
    1. Network model: One to many / many to one / many to many / one to one
    2. Asynchronous vs. synchronous
    3. Equal roles vs. complementary roles. Is one person special?
    4. Anonymity and/or intimacy
    5. Local vs. remote collaboration (i.e. people in same room vs. people far away)
    6. Criticality and/or self-reflexive awareness of the nature of networked communication
  • Document your process by embedding images of paper sketches from your notebook. These images could be as simple as photos of your sketches, captured with your phone.
  • Label your project's blog post with the WordPress category, 04-Telematic.
  • Title your project's blog post with the title, nickname-telematic.

Here you can see one of Charlotte's demos, a simplified Agar.io clone, embedded below:

Hey! Still looking for ideas? What if your networked environment used Matter.js, a 2d physics engine for the web? The great Dan Shiffman provides some helpful bootstrapping for this useful JavaScript library: