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Spaces of Attention (Räume der Aufmerksamkeit)

A pulsating light on the sea sends a signals to a lost boat, a noise of the traffic diverts your walk to a quieter street. Objects and events in our surroundings make us perceive and act. Sometimes we do this intentionally. Sometimes we are unaware that something or someone changes the way we move through space.

When designing any spatial experience: an installation, a sound walk through the city, a public service or a responsive scenography, we shape the inhabitants’ experience by creating various objects of attention, the so-called perceptual attractors. We can design such objects of attention by shaping their spatial qualities such as brightness or size – an illuminated large door in a dark room that leads our way out. The temporal qualities such as speed can also divert or attract attention – we may notice a branch of a plant suddenly breaking down (short term response), but not see the growth of the same branch and how us not watering the plant led to its damage (long term response).

In this project, we explore how such attractors shape our experiences in theatre context, by designing such attractors within a performative setting – an installation or a dance scenography. Our goal is to develop techniques to capture, experiment with and understand attention in space. We used the notion of Liquid Space to explore different ways of shifting between perceptual textures and objects, backgrounds and foregrounds.

Project lead: Karmen Franinovic

Researcher: Moritz Kemper

Partners: Jens Badura (performing arts departement) and German Torro-Perez (music departement)

Funding: Z+ (ZHdK)


Research