Passers By is an interactive public installation allowing passers-by to connect with cold, unwelcoming spaces, temporarily emerge from the unstoppable stream of thought and feel comfort. ‘Encouraging observation’ is the motivation behind the project as we believe that lack of curiosity, in part, increases levels of stress and loneliness in the city dwellers. Passers By is an attempt to use technology not as an informational (wordy) output but rather as a tool to generate emotion, empathy. As a secondary task we hope that the piece can contribute to establishing non-verbal dialogue where space can become the connecting intermediary between strangers – this becomes more relevant as new social distancing rules fall in place encouraging people to seek non physical connection.

The installation is a bar of variable length which can be installed on a wall at a height of a person’s shoulder. The bar contains an array of speakers and an ultrasonic sensor strip. When a person walks by the sensor strip they hear a sound which shadows their movement – establishing an effect of ‘walking with the sound’. Depth reading is constantly updated and sent to a microcomputer (Raspberry Pi inside of the bar) which calculates a person’s location (relative to the bar). Once the location is recorded, the microcomputer dispatches the speaker system to play a sound back at the relative location inside the speaker array. Multiple interactions are supported at the same time and the system will generate a new sound of the same type for each interaction. This will provide an opportunity of a ‘dialogue’ between people by exploring tonal and phasing relationships of sounds they walk with.

Vladislav Luchnikov, Kelvin Luk, Hawke Fitzmaurice, Yu Fujishiro