“Lonely in the crowd” is a project about how to boost communication between strangers in urban space. It deals with the anonymity of citizens in the increasingly urbanized world we all live in. The result is an interactive installation that takes part in crowded, urban areas and makes it easier for strangers to get in contact with each other in a playful way.
On the one hand the installation motivates the passers-by to interact with it and most importantly with other people around them, on the other hand side it creates permanent patterns that visualize the different interactions that were made with others. In the course of time the wall becomes a piece of mural art showing the amount of personal connections that were made using the installation.
Due to the global changes nowadays, the progression of urbanization is rapidly increasing all over the world. More and more people are moving from rural to more urban areas. The UN estimates that by the year 2050, 70 percent of the population in the world will be living in urban areas. So it is very likely that you’ll find yourself in situations where you are surrounded by many people that are all strangers to you. These new ways of living lead to unforeseen problems, among others, the individual handling of the newly gained anonymity and the feeling of being alone in the crowd. According to a recent study which has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology from John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, loneliness exists within a society and can spread through it, from one person to another, just like a disease. “Feeling lonely is more than just unpleasant for those who yearn to be surrounded by warm relationships—it is a health hazard”, Cacioppo says.
“Lonely in the crowd“ deals with the new ways of social life. The interactive installation motivates the passers-by to get in contact, to step out of their daily routines, and leave their anonymity behind for a moment. It merges into the urban environment being unobtrusive and subtle, only visible for those taking their time and being attentive to their environment. It is installed in places where a lot of strangers are present, such as train stations, markets, shopping centres or public parks.
In the installation every passer-by is represented by a swarm of creatures projected to the wall. The user is able to control the behaviour of the swarm through his movement. Just like a curious kid, the swarm doesn’t know about social barriers and fears, which often prevent us from starting a conversation with strangers. As soon as another swarm comes into reach, the creatures will start to visually motivate the users to get closer and explore other interactive possibilities in a playful way. Patterns evolve through time, giving a picture of the interactions and making passers-by aware of the communication that took place using the installation.
The project improves the situation for those willing to communicate more often in their daily life, making it easier to start a spontaneous and natural conversation or even just collect a smile from a stranger. With small gestures like these, we can all do something against the feeling of being isolated in the crowd.
Karmen Franinovic and Max Rheiner
Introduction Video: http://vimeo.com/19208145
Usertesting Video: http://vimeo.com/23448737
Erfasst am 07.06.11
Come to experience BA and MA final student projects at the Zurich University of the Arts!
Erfasst am 11.06.12
A tribute to the sense of touch. IAD presents haptic interaction projects at MUDAC and Fondation Verdan.