Murphy Interactive Installation: Project Debrief

This interactive installation employed sensors and effectors connected to a laptop via a microcontroller to project an abstract narrative digital video piece that responded to the participant. It was based on ideas from Samuel Beckett's novel Murphy and featured audio clips from the book.

The protagonist of Murphy spends much of the novel meditating in a rocking chair in his attic. I created a room with props, including a rocking chair on a rug, coatrack and a small print of a sailing ship on the wall.

When the participant entered the room sensors detected their motion. A voice announced "The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing now" and a projector displayed scenes of traffic that became increasingly rapid and chaotic as the user moved closer to the installation.

Upon sitting in the rocking chair, a line from the book was pronounced and the projected display changed to that of the interior of an attic. As the user rocked in the chair, sensors detected the motion and a loop of an ocean began to appear with increasing opacity, superimposed over the attic image. The loop frame display corresponded to the rocking motion.

Multimedia Files

Project Documentation Clip >>
This was the most complex, involved and rewarding interactive art piece I ever designed. Unfortunately photos and video or the project were lost. I pieced together this clip from the minute or so of video that remains. The first participant in the clip kept confusing the sensors so the temporal flow is a little choppy, but it does represent the basic experience.