Tea Party is a pop up window display inviting the public to help a baby doll in power choose a physical object by spinning her arm, causing an unexpected change to a digital tea party world. Featured @ Broadway & 10th St from Nov 15th 2017 to Nov 19th 2017
How does it work?
The user approaches the window to a large baby doll sitting on top of a drawer. Around her is a circle containing six different toys. A hand on the window indicates the user to press and hold their hand to spin her arm. The longer the user applies pressure to the hand, the longer her arm rotates. When her arm stops spinning, it lands on one of the physical objects. The toy chosen then causes a direct effect on the lives of the dolls in the digital tea party Unity scene.
How it all started? (Concept & Plan)
Pop Up Windows is a class taught at ITP each year. The class is about designing, building and exhibiting an interactive window display, based on this year's theme of reality augmented. My partners and I were interested in creating a window that was an ironic social commentary about our reality. We wanted to address the current state of control and its consequences in our society. We came up with the idea of having a large baby doll as the authoritative figure of our window world. She would be positioned above all, acting and exuding a god-like essence but also not knowing what to do with her absolute power. She would sit there amongst her toys waiting for someone to come help her make a decision on how she should "lead". Surrounding her would be toys that symbolize each decision she could take on the lives of her subjects. The setting of the window would be a tea party in a little girl's room in order to emphasize the naivety of the doll and the irony of her control. We wanted the screen in the room to be another window into the lives of her subjects who are having a peaceful tea party in a forest, awaiting their fate. We juxtaposed the physical environment with the digital screen in order to give the room a sense of significance. Hence, the idea was to include the user into becoming someone of importance that is helping the doll in power make a decision on what to do with her subjects. They would spin her arm and land on an object that would change the digital scene drastically.
Tea Party gives the user more power in controlling the life of another person than society normally allows. The user is forced to face the consequences of their decisions and the uncertainty of the outcomes that affect the lives of innocent dolls enjoying a tea party.
We began our build phase by testing the hand's rotation with a cardboard prototype, servo motor, and rotary encoder. After successful testing, we went to several thrift stores in search for dolls, toys, curtains, wallpaper, etc. After finding sufficient decorations for our window, we began working on the wooden circle, and the stand that would support our doll in power. Once our doll was firmly standing up on her own, we attached the motor to her arm, the encoder to the circle and made sure everything was working properly just as our prototype did. After finishing up with the tech, we painted and sanded the circle, and started decorating the scene tentatively until our move-in day to the window. During all this time, I was also working heavily on creating a Unity game.
Window Set Up Process
On our move-in day, we began by laying out material for our floor, stapling up the wallpaper and curtains, and then finally bringing in the drawer, screen, and the room's decorations. Our inspiration for the interior design was to make it look as homely as possible by adding in a lot of details such as magazines, blankets, paintings, etc.
Play Tea Party Unity Game
This is the web version of the tea party Unity game. You simply press hot keys to activate the events that happened when users spun the doll's arm!
Arduino, Touch Sensor, Servo Motor, Rotary Encoder, Neopixels, Unity, OSC