Michelle Chang

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Michelle Chang Powered By Docstoc
					Michelle Chang
CPSC 672-600 CSCW
Assignment 1 - Research Paper Summaries
March 15, 2003
Email: mchang@csdl.tamu.edu

Citation Information
Jon Hindmarsh1, Christian Heath1, Dirk vom Lehn1, Jason Cleverly2 “Creating
Assemblies: Aboard the Ghost Ship”
  WIT Research Group, King‟s College London
  Interactive Crafts Group, School of Art and Design
CSCW November 16-20 2002

Summary of Key Points

This paper examines the interaction between an assembly of traditional objects and video
technologies by performing an ethnographic study at a gallery. This interaction is
important in the field of CSCW to consider how people encounter and react to these
objects, and how in effect this interface allows for an opportunity to produce creativity in
an informal setting.

Take-home Lessons

How is informal communication fostered between two people?
How is interaction encouraged in a museum setting?
Traditional museum settings impose a sense of awareness among friends and
acquaintances but not among strangers. How can technology help to bridge that gap and
introduce sustained interactivity?


Traditional Museum Setting
Typically, a museum experience is individualized, in that visitors see artifacts on display
but barely comment about them. Museum settings tend to emit a quiet setting in that
visitors quickly become aware of others‟ presence in the exhibit, and choose to limit their
conversation for the fear of intruding on others‟ space. People tend to go to these
museums together, but somehow end up exploring the exhibits themselves.

Galleries to are adopting many new technologies to aid interaction between people. A
visit to a cultural museum is meant to be an educational experience as well as a social
opportunity. However, interactivity with museum displays is limited to traditional
computer screens are limited in size and shape, they have a single input device, such as
touch screens, the computer exhibits housed in museums are isolated into separate
booths, and the use of speakers and headphones tend to constrain opportunities for co-
participation in enjoying the display. In addition, tours, videos and lectures isolate
visitors by causing them to become a passive audience.

Role of CSCW
Collaborative applications can help to bridge this gap in communication in public spaces.
Most Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) studies focus on understanding
how people coordinate, communicate and collaborate in the workplace. However, these
papers discuss how to facilitate relations and hence creativity among a group of people
who have met, or who may have never seen one another before, that is, beyond the work
setting and into the public workspace.

Other Applications
Other technologies have also tried to go beyond the individualized experiences in art
galleries. Sotto Voice is an electronic handheld guidebook designed to aid interaction.
The guidebook has descriptions of the objects in the museum. When users click the
artifact on the touch screen, a short audio clip is played. The design curbs the problems
described above by creating headphones that do not fully occlude the ears, a different
audio system so that users can distinguish between sounds in the open air and sounds
from the electronic handbook, and an eavesdropping feature that forms interactional work
in an indirect way.

The guidebook is a Compaq iPAQ handheld computer using a wireless local-area
network. The headphones are single-ear telephone headsets so that the user isn‟t isolated
from the surrounding environment. Two visitors A and B are allowed to eavesdrop on
each other by setting this mode on, so that if visitor A isn‟t playing an audio clip, then if
B is playing an audio clip, B‟s audio clip can be heard on A‟s device. Three eavesdrop
modes: Off, Quiet, Loud allow a user to turn off the eavesdropping feature, leave
eavesdropping on either in low volume (Quiet mode), or on regular volume (Loud mode).
By allowing one visitor to indirectly “see” the other‟s person‟s activity, Sotto Voice hopes
to foster tracking of one another‟s activities, making conversation easier to grow by
having this common ground of a shared interface, yet giving the visitors complete
freedom to be independent to control their guidebook.

Ingenuity supposedly develops from chance encounters. In this paper, technological
artwork was developed in the Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art Exposition in
Chicago to see how communication would arise among the audience, and to examine
visitors‟ reactions to this shared art piece. „Design Sensitivities‟ are discovered to inform
the design of future technological exhibits to encourage co-participation in a ubiquitous
computing environment. This art installation, created by Jason Cleverly, is called Ghost

Ghost Ship
Ghost Ship represents artwork that simulates a deck on a ship, and is portrayed in a room
approximately 15 x 20 feet. The installation consists of various elements - a cruise liner
scene painted on a wooden façade on one side and a simulated deck area with railings on
the other side. The ship is located on the right hand side of the room, the deck on the left.
Going further left takes you to the „inside‟ of the ship. Visitors can stand here and look
through windows back towards the ship on the right of the room. A series of „hidden‟
cameras are positioned around the display, and as visitors explore this shipping deck,
they become aware of one another when their video images are shown on various parts of
the installation. Those visitors that stand in the deck area appear on a large projected
display on the painted ship. An individual can also appear on multiple image screens,
depending on the positioning of the cameras. However, the subject may have no idea that
his image is being displayed, but his companion may see his image. This factor is the
general idea behind fostering informal interaction.

An observational study was conducted for this display to examine how visitors would
react and if any interaction would develop. Also of interest are the ways in which visitors
acted in response to seeing themselves on the Ghost Ship installation. By transposing
figures in different parts of the installation and incorporating the visitors into the art
piece, the researchers are hoping to cultivate some form of collaboration.

The observational study consisted of three goals. These were to examine how
1. Ghost Ship enabled interaction among co-located visitors,
2. Visitors discovered the connection between the assembly of objects and the
technology, and
3. Problems arose when participants wanted to inform others that they were being
transposed onto the installation.

Many visitors seemed to enjoy the direct interaction with the art piece and would
collaboratively play with various aspects of the video images. When people see
themselves or their partners projected on several screens, they begin to talk to each other
to try to figure out where the cameras were positioned across the room. By playing with
different positions, they are able to manipulate the screen images and explore several
possibilities to be creative, playful, humorous and entertaining.

Many instances of creativity were observed. A list of these follows:
1. A group of five boys see themselves in the video portholes, and begin to look into
several of them simultaneously, taking turns to make faces at one another and create
curious images.
2. Some visitors would create images of themselves „stuck‟ inside the ship supposedly
banging on the deck window trying to get out of the ship.
3. Several visitors were able to discover and look at themselves on the video porthole but
one partner would move around quickly and disappear from the video image causing the
other partner to quickly turn and look for them in the real setting. The other partner
would then reappear and then hide again from the video screen, resulting in a humorous
Evaluation & Discussion

Ghost Ship‟s success was due mainly to the „chance discoveries‟ of others on the video
porthole that provided an occasion for interaction. The difference between this setting
and the traditional museum setting is that visitors discover ways to creatively alter the art
piece. When visitors see someone familiar on the projected screens, they quickly point
out this observation and hence initiate collaboration.

Several scenarios where interaction was taking place seemed to be broken down due to
the limitations of Ghost Ship. For instance, when one visitor tried to show her daughter
that she is appearing on a video screen, her daughter quickly stepped over to look at the
video image, but in doing so, simultaneously stepped out of the camera‟s range and was
unable to see herself. The daughter was unable to witness the visual effect of her actions.
Manual re-shifting of the daughter‟s position to be in line with the camera was the only
way that the daughter could see herself. As a result, this attempt to preserve the joy and
surprise of the experience was lost and a manual attempt had to recreate the situation.
Hence, the interaction was not spontaneous and the interaction did not happen very

Further, collaboration occurred only when individuals recognized a familiar face on the
video screens. Most people would not bridge that communication gap and go out of their
way to creatively play with the display if they didn‟t recognize the other person. Instead,
they would passively move on to other parts of the installation. Hence, interaction
occurred only among people familiar with each other.

Since this art piece is meant to project images of people across the room, there must be a
group of people to observe the effects of the video media. Even when pairs of visitors are
alone in the room, looking at several parts of the installation together would not show the
interactivity between them and the assembly of objects on the ship. Therefore, these pairs
rarely discovered any dynamic images and could hardly see any connections among
themselves and the images on the ship. Ghost Ship works well only if there is a
substantial audience to interplay with the video cameras across the room.

Implications and Challenges
Even though this study was performed in a museum, the creative scenarios can easily be
extended to more public venues such as people in a bus station, or groups of people in a
waiting room. Clearly, visitors used their resourcefulness in the museum exhibit to
produce greater interactivity and hence collaboration amongst themselves, increasing the
aesthetic experience.

Work in CSCW tends to focus on how to develop cooperation amongst a small group of
users, typically a group of 3 to 5 people, who would otherwise work individually.
However, Ghost Ship faces the opposite challenge - reverse scalability. Here, designers
need considered how to facilitate interaction among multiple people, but somehow the
installation didn‟t work very well when only 3 to 5 people were involved. This smaller
number of users: couples alone, collections of couples, groups exploring together,
increased the isolation of the exhibit.

Future Work
This paper studied the effects of Ghost Ship, an interactive art piece. Various issues were
discussed such as collaboration, the affordances provided for the visitors, and how
mobility helped to shape the artwork

However, much work still needs to be done concerning how to encourage relations
among strangers, and not just among companions seen on the video portholes.
Additionally, it is still unknown how to extend collaborative technologies to enable
sustained interactions in a public space.

The study in this paper considered several novelties in providing for interaction. Sotto
Voice, enabled interaction but somehow still limited this socialization to two people using
the eavesdropping feature. Still, even though Ghost Ship expanded the amount of
participants, no creativity was observed with multiple people seeing themselves on the
screen simultaneously unless they knew each other. Therefore, it seems like no difference
will be made if designers formed interactive devices for everyone in the workspace, since
people only talked to one another if they were companions.

Also, I think that the results from this observational study could have been supplemented
with an interviewing session. We really don‟t know why seeing a stranger on the video
screen did not allow for new exchanges among these individuals to occur, and what the
installation could have provided to aid possible dealings amongst these strangers. Was it
beneficial to see strangers on the screen to help figure out where the cameras were
positioned? We would have a better understanding if we knew what situations caused
people to react to the art piece.

Furthermore, human behavior in public has rarely been studied in the sociological
sciences. Designers test their collaborative applications in limited and controlled settings
only, and need to find out how to interconnect objects in the public space to people in
public areas, and then finding out how this interconnection will cause people to

1. Paul M. Aoki, Rebecca Grinter, Amy Hurst, Margaret H. Szymanski, James D.
Thornton, Allison Woodruff “Revisiting the Visit: Understanding How Technology Can
Shape the Museum Visit”, CSCW 2002.

2. Paul M. Aoki, Rebecca Grinter, Amy Hurst, Margaret H. Szymanski, James D.
Thornton, Allison Woodruff “Sotto Voce: Exploring the Interplay of Conversation and
Mobile Audio Spaces”, CHI 2002.

3. Yasuyuki Sumi, Kenji Mase “Supporting Awareness of Shared Interests and
Experiences in Community”, SIGGROUP 2000

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