Project Showcase - The Conscious Machine v3.1

The time has come to continue our Project Showcase series, this time with an impressive interactive installation done by The Fortunecats: The Conscious Machine v3.1, **exhibited as part of **The Brighton Digital Festival 2012.


The installation

**From the project's website:***

This work has developed through a series of interactive installations. It focuses on four parts of conscious experience:

  1. Searching
  2. Internal monologue/dialogue
  3. Body and present moment awareness
  4. Emotional response to stimulus


The details

The viewer watches and listens as the computer performs an Internet search for poetry and inspiration from the social stream and the Semantic Web, reading out it’s findings. This can continue indefinitely but is interrupted if the viewer sits in the chair. The computer then begins to show a generative, first person point-of-view film, whilst reading a breath relaxation exercise designed to bring the consciousness of the viewer into the present. A sensor in the chair measures the breathing of the viewer and changes the contrast and saturation of the video at the same rate as the viewer’s breathing.


The film is edited at the computer’s discretion with its voice reading lines from the author Richard Moss about the mechanics of conscious engagement with emotional states. The resulting film and dialogue is unique for each visitor. After a few minutes the viewer is asked to leave the chair. The intention is for the viewer to observe their own emotional connection or intellectual response to the imagery and spoken word, and to realize that this observation is being absorbed and processed by the machine.

Shardcore shared with me the technical details of this amazing project:

  • Perl controlling the database/twitter searching, text/speech playback and video playlist (clip switching in CoGe controlled over OSC)
  • Running on MacBook Pro
  • Processing to compute the breathing position (via a camera pointed across the subjects abdomen) and send this over OSC to CoGE - Running on a Mac Mini

The artists

The Fortunecats is collaboration  between shardcore and Sam Hewitt, which has produced a developing series of acclaimed indoor and outdoor installations internationally since 2007. You can find they history here.

Photographies by Daniel Yanez Gonzalez - Brighton Digital Festival