Livingroom 2003

“LivingRoom” was a multimedia installation that came alive with the contributions of its users. The open infrastructure provided an opportunity for interaction with new media ranging from playful experiences to educational project work.

 

Overview. Credit: Ars Electronica Futurelab
Overview. Credit: Ars Electronica Futurelab

 

“LivingRoom” was a documentary, a game, a play, a single episode of a movie serial, animated feature, reality soap, comic strip … and schoolwork. Students could play out short stories on four stages set up at different locations throughout the school. These performances were transmitted to the school auditorium, where the various episodes displayed on four different screens merged into a single story and transformed the school’s physical premises into a narrative space. Real footage, cut-out animation sequences, live images and processed material from the Internet blended together to form partially random, partially scripted narratives.
It is not only the screens on which the short stories were displayed that make this project into a “living room.” The point of “LivingRoom” is that the school is a place that is created by the activities that go on within it and not one of passive acceptance of predetermined routines. External influences also came into play—in this application via the Web. With a custom-designed video-processing interface, a user could recompile and rework existing episodes and, in doing so, show plot and narrative elements from a new perspective and tell alternative stories.

 

 

Thus, narratives could be recorded totally spontaneously or planned in advance, and they could be realized individually or collaboratively. Virtual stage elements could be designed in different school classes or subjects and then be utilized live. Other possibilities include using “LivingRoom” for school theater performances and as an exhibition medium for school projects.
Since “LivingRoom” had been conceived as a project that would accompany whole classes throughout their school years, it had intentionally been given a modular design whereby all components could be enhanced or replaced with upgraded versions. The hardware was standard equipment readily available in retail stores; the software could be expanded or replaced depending on what users want to accomplish and their respective skill levels.


Research and Development

Dietmar Offenhuber, Nina Wenhart, Helmut Höllerl, Christopher Lindinger, Carlos Andreas Rocha, Horst Hörtner, Stefan Mittlböck-Jungwirth, Christian Naglhofer, Peter Brandl, Robert Abt, Robert Praxmarer, Peter Freudling, Erwin Reitböck, Martin Honzik, Christoph Scholz, Martin Bruner, Walter Steinacher, Ewald Elmecker, Florian Landerl