With the participatory and interactive Installation Point of You we present a deep exploration in disembodied experiences, empathic behaviour and shared senses. The work consists of four data masks, each equipped with a VR Headset and a wireless connected camera eye placed in the forehead region of the masks. The wearing person sees its surrounding world through with the VR goggles through the camera eye. The camera Eyes can be taken out of the masks and held in the hands. This creates the feeling of holding the own eye in the hands. By exploring this new sensual and physical realtion users gain a new perspective, a new point of view of their individual position. They can let wander their eye around, watch themselves by pointing the eye toward their own body.
Point of You is not just a single user experience. It lives by exploring the world together as a group. Therefore the participants do not just have their own eye, but the eye of someone else of the group in their hand. This creates a shared sensual space that needs empathic behaviours, slow movements and a lot of commuication. By this, the group of visual and collective explorers creates a social sculpture drifting through public spaces. Point of you is not a gallery piece. It has to be on public places, out in the streets.
The project is a follow up to the EYEsect project we realized back in 2012. Due to Moores Law of constant and exponential increase of computing capacities the technologies we included into EYEsect outdated pretty soon. It was the first Occulus Rift from Kickstarter and soon there were more hi res experiences available that the EYEsect.
We wanted to design it as a wireless setup and as a multi person experience. It had to be out of bodiment but within a group of people to increase social interaction and to sensitize for more empathic behaviours.
For the project we combined algorithmic design tools and additive manufacturing. All four helmets share the same formal parameters but differ in their constellation to each other. One is more wavy, another has more holes. Still they act and appear as a family. With the tool grasshopper we design the surfaces that we prototyped as small scale models and early visualisations. As soon as we had decided for one final shape we 3D printed a 1:1 model. Thanks to the node-design-wizard Tom Witschel! Most of the technological interiors have been supervised and installed by Jens Beyer. Within this team all masks have been design, printed and set up for use. To communicate the project early to partners and festivals, we created promotional key visuals
The camera eyes consists of a modular 3D-printed shell and a high frequency radio module to transmit the captured video with out latency to the VR headset in the masks. To pair camera eye and data masks all eyes have different iris glasses installed. Due to the wireless connection they are equipped with a rechargable battery.
Also the included tech parts in the masks are battery driven. We focused on the most light weight and durable solution to offer the users the best experience. The data masks consists of a battery pack and a stand alone VR headset. The whole system is attached to an adjustable head band that connects the tech parts to the 3D printed outer shell.
The whole design process has been exhibited at the NEW NOW festival at Zeche Zollverein in Essen / Germany. It has been 25 prototypes in various sizes on display, showing the range and diversity of the parametric and algorithmic design process.