“Intentions” is a multisensory installation activated by the participant. Computer programs and data meld with video to generate a visual experience exploring how collective memory integrates and obscures individual action. The sandbox, physical and familiar, invites play and interaction from across age groups. Together with the human timber of cello music, we encourage a safe space, where participants can freely “create” and “erase” images in the sand and see them projected on the wall in real time. While the actions are turned into streaming video, they are also mixed with video streams of earlier actions and other participant engagement.
The installation is made up of a 6'x6' backlit sandbox covered in white sand in the center of a dark space, welcoming people to use their hands, or a series of tools commonly used in Japanese rock gardens to draw directly into the sand. Backlighting makes the sand designs visible which are simultaneously projected on a wall.
In this piece the code allowed oscillation between past and present without generating new data or interacting with the participants. The reactions to seeing themselves projected in a stream of past and present brought inquiry into the nature of memory perception. However, in the digital world, data itself represents memory and technology, both a conduit and barrier to collective knowledge.
The installation includes a soundscape created by Brent Kiser using a cello piece composed by Ro Rowan that bespeaks a dissonant past and a hopeful future. Yo-Yo Ma has suggested that the resonance of the cello instrument is equivalent to the human voice. The space was also scented with lavender to add to the tranquil environment needed to unearth memory and the reflective mind.