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Populace is an interactive public arts project currently under development and scheduled for deployment in the winter of 2004.

The project's principal goal is to allow viewers a method for interacting with and contributing to an arts project as part of their daily routine; the project's essence is to collate a popularity index for sculptures.

For Populace, five opposable, moving, and interactive sculptures will be deployed at popular tourist/local attractions around the Houston metropolitan area. Each sculpture will be interactive in the sense that through a series of motion sensors, each sculpture will adapt and interactive with its environment. When a person approaches the sculpture, it will react and adapt based on proximity as well as quantity (ie. many people versus a single person).

While this interaction offers an immediate method for the person(s) to interact with the art piece, in the background the piece is carefully tracking how many and to what amount of time a person is manipulating the piece. This set of variables will gradually build and soon a popularity index will be established.

The piece's static position (sans user interaction) will be derived from the previous day's popularity index so over the course of a few days visitors can comprehend the piece's current popularity level based on it's static size.

Over the course of a month of outdoor public deployment, the sculptures will then be brought into a gallery setting and displayed in one environment. The end result will be a popularity overview of Houston area attractions as it relates to the sculpture.

Developer journal

Mechanized version of two player Pong.
Lots of servos both large and small.
Lots of servos to pick and choose.
SimpleTEXT: a mobile phone enabled performance
A collaborative audio/visual public performance that relies on audience participation through input from mobile devices.
Charmed Labs
Interesting use of Gameboy as an embedded microcontroller.
A MIDI to real-world interface designed to simplify the process of creating sensor and robotics based electronic art projects.
Boards that run embedded Linux.
Programmable Legos
Japanese electronic blocks.
BASIC Stamp microcontrollers
Easy to use USB-based controllers.
Art interface device
Art interface device advice specifically for artists.

© Copyright 2004 David Chien

Populace is supported in part by a grant from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County