Today our course made a visit to the London Science Museum, specifically to observe the latest interactive media installations there.
On one level of the museum was an area named “Who Am I?” which explored individuality and the sense of self through several interactive “tests” and visual installations that gave a personalized response, making each user’s experience truly unique.
This gallery takes the personalization of interactive media to a whole new level, making interactive pieces with a focus entirely on the user. The gallery uses cameras in a variety of ways – from drawing the silhouette of the user as they walk in to the entrance (shown at the start of the video) to taking an image of the user’s eye on one particular screen. Following this, the user can answer a series of questions about their individuality, and having completed this will be anonymously “showcased” on the far side of the exhibit, a silhouette generated of circles and showing the answers that the user input.
Exploring this gallery in the museum drew my attention to the way user interactivity is related with the sense of identity. Media pieces which rely on user input to be complete and functional make the user a part of the experience, splitting their attention – just as the user focuses on the media narrative and experience, there is also a degree of attention paid to the self and the role that the user plays in everything. “Who Am I?” made this far more apparent than other interactive media, as it is literally an exhibit about the self drawing your attention inward from the get go. This could strengthen one’s sense of identity as they have an active role to play in a piece of media, or draw it in to question as the user considers their self from a third person perspective, asking questions and making decisions they never normally would have to.