MEASURING THE IMPACT OF A VISUAL AND INTERACTIVE CANCER RESEARCH CENTER EXHIBIT IN FRANCE
BY CRISTEL ANTONIA RUSSELL
This research focuses on visitors' experience of and reactions to a new cancer research center exhibit that opened to the public in 2014 in St Etienne, France. Its mission is to “Change the Outlook” of visitors on cancer, to make them aware of causes of cancer, of current research on cancer and of protective factors and lifestyle changes they can make to reduce their risks. The objective of the research program is to evaluate how visitors interact with the different modules in this very interactive and mostly visual exhibit, to assess how they respond to the information it conveys and to evaluate what they understand and remember from their visit. Visitors use badges to activate the interactive modules that comprise the exhibit (learning about cancer research, preventive factors, protective factors, etc) and these badges record information about the time, order and responses given to each of the modules in the exhibit to capture visitors’ trajectory in the exhibit. These data, combined with visitor surveys collected before and after the visit, allow us to evaluate the impact of the exhibit on people's perceptions of cancer and their behaviors.
Video 1: Aural Maze, by William Brent
The Aural Maze challenges visitors to navigate a space using only their ears. A path is determined ahead of time, and walking along it from start to finish plays a piece of music from beginning to end. If you stray to the left or right of the defined path, the audio fades out to let you know that you're off course. Ideally, it is installed in a pitch black room where your ears are your only guide. In the following video of an early demo, the path is drawn on the floor, and visitors were able to walk along it to "play" Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1. The speed of playback is controlled by walking pace, and walking backwards along the path causes reverse playback. If you stand still, so does the music. Position tracking was achieved using an overhead infrared camera that follows the inrared-emitting helmet worn by visitors. Learn more at williambrent.conflations.com.
Videos 2-4: Feature-Exchange & Face-Exchange Illusions, by Arthur Shapiro
In Face-Exchange two different faces physically pass each other. When fixating centrally, observers typically report the perception of bouncing faces that swap features, indicating that the Feature Exchange effect can occur even with complex objects. In Face-Go-Round one face repeatedly moves from left to right on the top of the monitor, and the other from right to left at the bottom of the monitor. Observers typically perceive the faces moving in a circle — a percept that contradicts information provided by the identity of the faces. Peripheral Feature-Exchange consists of two colored bars that physically bounce (they continually meet in the middle of the monitor and return to the sides). When viewed in the periphery, the bars appear to stream past each other even though this percept relies on the exchange of features and contradicts the information provided by the color of the bars.
1982–Myths of Escape is a dance theatre work created by dancer Mirenka Cechova, computer musician/software designer William Brent, and 'cellist NJ Snider. The piece relies on custom technology to create relationships between physical movement, acoustic/computer-generated sound, and real-time video manipulation. In parallel with the traditional dialog between dancer and musician, Myths of Escape introduces an additional dialog between the musician and a phantom (recorded) representation of the dancer. Various aspects of the cellist's playing, such as pitch, loudness, and liveliness control video of the dancer in real-time. This requires that the cellist learn to "play" the video just as much as the music, in an environment where new relationships between movement and sound are constantly introduced and destabilized. The video demonstrates the basic elements of the cello-video mapping software.