"LivingRoom" is a multimedia installation that comes alive with the contributions of its users. The open infrastructure provides an opportunity for interaction with new media ranging from playful experiences to educational project work.
“LivingRoom” is a documentary, a game, a play, a single episode of a movie serial, animated feature, reality soap, comic strip … and schoolwork.
Students can play out short stories on four stages set up at different locations throughout the school. These performances are transmitted to the school auditorium, where the various episodes displayed on four different screens merge into a single story and transform the school’s physical premises into a narrative space. Real footage, cut-out animation sequences, live images and processed material from the Internet blend together to form partially random, partially scripted narratives.
It is not only the screens on which the short stories are 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 come into play—in this application via the Web. With a custom-designed video-processing interface, a user can recompile and rework existing episodes and, in doing so, show plot and narrative elements from a new perspective and tell alternative stories.
Thus, narratives can be recorded totally spontaneously or planned in advance, and they can be realized individually or collaboratively. Virtual stage elements can 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” has been conceived as a project that will accompany whole classes throughout their school years, it has intentionally been given a modular design whereby all components can be enhanced or replaced with upgraded versions. The hardware is standard equipment readily available in retail stores; the software can be expanded or replaced depending on what users want to accomplish and their respective skill levels.