An interactive piece that I found interesting is “Future You” by Universal Everything. It is a digital interactive installation that “replicates” the human, into a sentient synthetic form. This form is mostly blob-like in nature, and whenever a different participant stands in front of the installation, the “reflection” changes, showing a new synthetic form, to represent this new participant.
While the installation is relatively simple in its interactivity, it converts one’s being to another form, giving one a sense of new, or uncanny identity. This can be perceived as a mask, or a projection of how one would be in the future.
The artwork is presented in Barbican’s AI: More Than Human exhibition, as the first thing that the public sees when they first enter. It acts as an introductory piece to the exhibition that focuses on artificial intelligence and its predicted future, an interactive reflection of the future self. To me, the piece feels like a portal to a new future where one’s form is no longer “human”, but given a futuristic version of themselves to fit into this new world where AI might play a more important role than it does today.
The screen acts as a mirror, the reflection captured by a camera facing the participant. The camera detects various parts of the human body, and follows a rigging system attached to a variation of the reflection, then projected onto the screen. These reflections then mimic the visitor’s movements. These reflections start off as primitive, and then learn to adapt from the movements of visitors, creating a more “superior” version of themselves. Through this evolution, it generates a new visual response for each visitor, and apparently there are 47 000 variations.
From what I have observed in the videos documenting audience feedback, many visitors were very interested in the project, as it was a very personal and unique experience to each and every one of them. A lot of them participated willingly through exaggerated body movement, children and adults alike.
The given context made a huge difference to how the project would be perceived. As someone who was aware that the context of it was an installation in an exhibition about artificial intelligence, I perceive it as a piece of work questioning this identity of artificial intelligence as it mimics life. However, should it be placed in a different context, it could mean something else entirely, or simply not have any meaning attached to it, and just be fun-driven. The ability to interact with it in a space curated about artificial intelligence gives it a sense of importance and message, I feel, that cannot be replicated in a different environment.